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Thursday, May 05, 2005 | Do you feel safer now because the state fire code requires us to “clear” vegetation out to 100 feet from a home, to be safe during a wildfire? Because this 100 feet policy is partly true – it can reduce a part of the risk – I spent six hours pulling and cutting tall annual weeds and pruning off deadwood behind my home on Tecolote Canyon. We filled a dozen 30-gallon bags with tall, dry weeds and grass (from Eurasia) and two bags of twigs (from tall native shrubs). These shrubs grew 4 to 6 inches of thick, juicy leaves over this past rainy season, while the weeds grew 3-foot-tall stems.

Kay Stewart is a local landscape architect in private practice, with a strong science background including an MA in biology and prior jobs involving natural resource research and management at the state and federal level.

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