Some plants are more flammable than others. How gardeners can reduce risks

Deadly wildfires in Hawaii this month were partly fueled by plants, particularly invasive grasses that have taken over land once occupied by sugar and pineapple plantations.

Some plants are more flammable than others, says Michelle Steinberg, wildfire director for the National Fire Protection Association. But “there’s no such thing as a fireproof plant,” she says, and all plants can catch fire under the right conditions.

These conditions include inappropriate pruning, inadequate irrigation, and poor sanitation practices that allow dry and dead plant parts to remain on the soil surface in vulnerable areas.
If you live in a fire risk area (or an area where climate change is increasing fire risk) and are choosing plants for your garden, knowing which ones offer some fire resistance and which are more flammable will serve you well.
Make a fire faster

Plants that contain essential oils, resins, wax or gummy sap are some of the quickest to catch fire, even if they are well watered and cared for. These plants include acacia, bamboo, eucalyptus, Japanese honeysuckle, rosemary, Scotch broom, and the gas plant, which gets its name from the flammable vapor that its flowers and leaves produce.

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