Improvements made to a hillside home, chosen last summer to showcase how fire dangers can be lessened through landscaping, were unveiled Friday to a group of fire officials and landscapers.
Heavy equipment cut, tore and chewed its way through the yard of Adrian Buoncristiani, a retired teacher who has lived in Lakeview for 25 years.
"Now Adrian's a lot safer than he was," said JoAnne Skelly, an educator for University of Nevada, Reno, Cooperative Extension.
The level of safety also had to be balanced with Buoncristiani's aesthetic needs. For example, while the dense greenery in his front yard provided him with a sense of privacy, it also provided a place for fire to possibly spread and jump to his home, Skelly said.
Ultimately, a compromise was reached by not removing all the limbs from lower portions of spruces in the front of his home.
And "we left a few junipers for the green color and to stabilize the soil, which slopes down toward his house," Skelly said.
The biggest threat to Buoncristiani was two-story-tall cypress trees in front and back of his home. Those were removed.
Among those who came to see the yard was Marie Bresch, a Combs Canyon-area resident for about 30 years, a master gardener and a member of Gardeners Reclaiming Our Waysides and the Nevada Fire Safe Council. People who live in semi-rural areas have a responsibility to themselves and their neighbors to keep their property as resistant to fire as possible, especially because "embers can travel for miles," she said.
"The Waterfall fire was a very scary thing," Bresch said about the 2004 blaze, which threatened her home and many others on the west side. "And this could be a real serious year for fires because of the dryness."
Buoncristiani was among a group of Carson City residents vying last year to have yards made more fire safe. In exchange, he will allow occasional tours of his three-acre property.
The purpose of the project - done at no cost to Buoncristiani - is to show how homes can be made safer through planning, planting and upkeep in areas where fire dangers lurk.
Residents will be able to view the results May 19, when the next tour is scheduled.
To arrange a tour of the site or obtain information about making one's home more fire resistant, contact Skelly at 887-2252 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Skelly also suggested visiting www.livingwithfire.com for landscaping ideas and to find out how to join or start a chapter of the Nevada Fire Safe Council.
The work cost $4,000 and was financed by a U.S. Bureau of Land Management grant. About $2,000 from the Carson City Waterfall fire education grant also helped finance the education project. The Nevada Division of Forestry provided planting materials, Skelly said.
• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.
Residents will be able to view the landscaping example created in Adrian Buoncristiani's yard on May 19, when the next tour is scheduled.
To see the yard or obtain information about making one's home more fire resistant, contact JoAnne Skelly at 887-2252 or email@example.com.
A helpful Web site for learning how to make one's home more resistant to fire is www.livingwithfire.com.