Eastern Redcedar as a Hazardous Fuel
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- Eastern redcedar taking over the land.
- Why is Eastern Redcedar a Hazardous Fuel?
Why is Eastern Redcedar a Hazardous Fuel?
- Eastern redcedar’s (ERC) fine foliage contains volatile oils that make it ignite and burn easily.
- ERC’s growth form brings the flammable foliage close to the ground, where a grass fire can ignite it.
- When ERC grows in forests and woodlands, it acts as a ladder fuel to allow fire to climb into the crowns of taller trees.
- When ERC burns, it showers thousands of burning embers downwind, which increases the chance of spot fires and the overall rate of fire spread.
- ERC is often planted in farmstead windbreaks or as an accent plant, where it may come in contact with a house, creating a path for fire to spread onto the home.
Eastern redcedar invades native forests and can cause the destruction of fire-tolerant trees if a wildfire moves through the area.
Creating fuel breaks (such as sidewalks or driveways), clearing a 30-foot area around the house, using construction material that is fire resistant or noncombustible, mowing regularly, and similar processes can help protect a home during a wildfire.
Eastern redcedar are a ladder fuel, and can transport a ground fire to the roof of a home.
Homes built on land invaded by eastern redcedar run a higher risk of burning during a fire. Owners need to acquire the knowledge to protect themselves and their belongings. One way to accomplish this is by allowing a 30- to 60-foot open space between eastern redcedars and the roofline. Prune any eastern redcedar growing close to the home to at least six feet above the ground.
Eastern redcedar is a ladder fuel because of its growth form. A ladder fuel provides a path for a fire to go from grass fuel on the ground up into a tree canopy. If a house (also fuel) is next to the tree, it will burn. Eastern redcedar is a volatile fuel that contains chemical compounds that burn rapidly and at high temperatures. Thus, when eastern redcedar ignites, it is hazardous to homeowners and firefighters alike.
For more information, contact the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry - Forestry Service at 405.521.3864 or any of the other participating agencies.
Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry - Forestry Service
United States Department of Agriculture - Forestry Service
Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service
Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation
Natural Resources Conservation Service