Protecting your Home during a Wildfire
July 22, 2013
Wildfires can spread rapidly, with little-to-no warning, often going unnoticed until it is too late. These wildfires, commonly started by human error, quickly ignite and burn through tinder-dry bushes and trees, and unfortunately spread to nearby homes as well.
If you live in a fire-prone area there are various ways that you can help reduce the chance for severe damage to your home and property by designing and landscaping your home with wildfire safety in mind and selecting materials and plants that can help contain a fire rather than fuel it.
For home design and construction:
- Use fire-resistant or noncombustible materials on the roof and exterior structure of the dwelling.
- Treat wood or combustible material used in roofs, siding, decking, or trim with fire-retardant chemicals evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory.
- Plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees around your property such as hardwoods, and avoid more flammable pine, evergreen, eucalyptus, or fir trees.
For home maintenance and safety:
- Regularly clean your roof and gutters to remove any debris.
- Install a fire alarm on every floor in your home and test monthly.
- Have a garden hose long enough to reach your home and any other structures on the property.
- Ask the power company to remove any branches that are near or on the power lines.
- Mow your grass regularly.
A great resource for home and property fire prevention planning is www.firewise.org. The site contains a variety of fire safety and prevention information designed for residents, property owners, fire departments, community planners, builders, public policy officials, water authorities, and architects. To learn about Firewise’s upcoming wildfire education conference click here.
Should you be directed to evacuate your home due to a wildfire, follow the instructions of local officials, and be sure to take your battery operated radio, disaster preparedness kit, and lock the door behind you when evacuating. If you have time to prepare the home before leaving, visit the U.S. Fire Administration web site for additional tips.
The National Volunteer Fire Council provides resources and training to help fire departments conduct home assessments in the wildland urban interface to help prepare their communities before the next wildfire. Learn more.