We acknowledge that urban wildfire mitigation requires a multi-faceted approach. The techniques and services highlighted here are not meant to serve as the only approach. We do strive to achieve multiple goals with each proposed intervention, and you will notice overlap between various strategies.

Fuel Reduction

Cheatgrass Management

Cheatgrass is an invasive grass species that germinates very early in the spring, goes to seed quickly, then dries out. In its dry state it is very flammable.

Cheatgrass germinates readily in disturbed, eroded soils.

It is recommended that cheatgrass be removed and replaced with native species.

Our approach involves pulling, sheep grazing, seeding, and erosion mitigation.


Pine Needle Hauling

Pine needles are very flammable.

It is recommended that pine needles be removed from the 5ft zone around your home and other structures, such as decks, sheds, and propane tanks. Elsewhere on your property, a layer of 3" or less is generally recognized by Firewise literature as OK. Leaving some needles can help minimize erosion and hold moisture on site.

At this time, we aren't able to help clear pine needles from properties, but we are able to help haul bagged pine needles. We can haul up to 6 cubic yards in a trip (that's a lot of pine needles).

Email desertlivingtucson@gmail.com to arrange pick-up.

Tree Species Transition

It is recommended that highly flammable, resinous species (pine, fir, spruce, juniper...) not be planted within the 30 ft zone around your home. Broadleaf, deciduous trees are recommended for this zone because their leaves tend to have a higher moisture content. This could include planting natives like alder, aspen, and locust or fruiting exotics like peach, apple, or cherry.

While we are not advocating for removal of every pine, we can help with selection, sourcing, and planting of deciduous trees as replacements when pines fall or if there is an opportunity to remove young pines from this zone.

Landscape Hydration

Passive Rainwater Harvesting

Passive rainwater harvesting entails sculpting the earth so that rain that falls on your property stays on your property. Preventing runoff allows rain to soak in and hydrate your land and plants. Well-hydrated organic groundcover materials and plants are more resistant to fire!

Passive earthworks also help to reduce erosion.

Rain Storage Tanks

Rain storage tanks collect rainwater from your cabin roof and store it for later use. Summerhaven gets an average of 30" of rain each year, so a 1000 sf roof area generates about 16,800 gallons of rain runoff per year.

By collecting roof runoff in tanks, you can also help to minimize erosion around your home. Remember, eroded soils are hot, dry, and prone to germinating weeds like cheatgrass.

Rain stored in tanks can be used to irrigate less flammable vegetation (veggie gardens, lawn, fruit trees) that often requires more water than native vegetation. 

Rain Surge Tanks

A rain surge tank is similar to a rain storage tank, except that instead of storing the water, it is coupled with an automatic distribution system. Instead of letting rain gush off your roof or out of a gutter downspout and run off your property, this system collects the surge off water from your roof, then outlets it from multiple points, distributing it over a broader area. This helps hydrate your land and plants, and it reduces the erosive potential of the roof runoff.

Laundry to Landscape Greywater

Laundry water can be easy to divert to the landscape, depending on where your washing machine is located in the cabin. It's a great source of water for supporting more water intensive (more fire resistant) plants.

While your laundry water is likely already going to the landscape via a septic system, it could be beneficial to direct this source of water to a different part of your landscape in order to derive greater benefit from it.

Just think, every time you do a load of laundry, that water could automatically be used a second time to water something like a plum tree! 

It is possible to send your laundry water 75-100 ft through the landscape with multiple emitter points along the way!


If paired with other hydration techniques, mulch can add many benefits - holds moisture on site, minimizes erosion, improves plant vigor, inhibits weeds, and enhances aesthetics.

Coarse hardwood and composted mulches have been shown to be the least flammable. We can help you decide which option might be right for your space based on site conditions and desired functionality.


Ready to find out more?

Give us a call to talk about your specific site!