Pine straw, a deadly landscape material? - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Pine straw, a deadly landscape material?

The Wilmington Fire Department has found is pine one of main contributors in many local home fires. (Source: WECT) The Wilmington Fire Department has found is pine one of main contributors in many local home fires. (Source: WECT)
WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) -

Pine Straw is one of the most common landscape materials used to enhance the look of residential areas; however, what the Wilmington Fire Department has found is pine straw is one of main contributors in many local home fires. 

Studies have shown pine straw has a rapid burn rate of 90 inches per minute, and can reach flame heights of nearly 22 feet. 

As a part of the Community Risk Reduction efforts the Fire Department has taken action to reduce residential fires.  

One way was asking property owners and managers to move pine straw at least 10 feet from any building. Another was replacing that 10 foot perimeter with a less flammable materials like Cyprus and pine based mulches. 

"Mulch tends to be whole or ground up pieces of wood so they retain more moisture than pine straw does," explained Jeff Henson of Seaside Mulch in Wilmington. "Pine straw dries out more quickly which allows it to combust faster."

Battalion Chief Sammy Flowers said he understood why people gravitate towards using pine straw because it's cheap and readily available, but Henson explained mulch is more cost effective in the long run.

"To cover the same general area pine straw would be a little cheaper than mulch,"Henson said. "However, most of the mulch products are going to last about twice as long or longer than the pine straw products."

The Wilmington Fire Department has begun reaching out to local property managers like CEPCO who are seriously considering making the change.

Copyright 2014 WECT. All rights reserved.

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