Protecting Your Home from Wildfire

Every summer, homes and vacation residences are lost to wildland fire. Additionally, firefighters are put into harm’s way by trying to protect property that hasn’t been properly maintained.

What can you do to help protect your home?

Firewise Communities offers these tips:

1. Make sure your home is built or improved with fire-resistant materials. Rather than having a wood-shake roof or siding, consider installing asphalt shingles and composite siding. Embers can lodge on roofs and under eaves, and if these areas provide fuel for the embers to grow, you’re almost sure to sustain damage to your home.

2. Remove additional fuels from around your home. If you have vegetation close to a building, it could ignite and spread fire to the structure. Remove trees that grow close to your house. Also consider landscaping with plants that are naturally more fire resistant. Consult your local Extensioner’s Office for a list of plants that are less likely to spread fire.

3. Consider how firefighters would access your home in an emergency. Many of today’s fire engines are very large. Is your driveway wide enough to allow one to approach your residence? Are there tight corners that could prevent an engine from pulling in, and more importantly, getting turned around to allow the firefighters safe egress in case they need to make a rapid retreat?

Firefighter safety is the primary concern and responsibility for all land management agencies. These people deserve to return safely home at the end of each fire assignment, but more and more is being asked of them as homes and vacation properties spread into what is commonly known as the urban interface. Taking steps to make your home more fire safe not only protects your property, but it helps protect firefighters. If you take these steps, there is a greater chance that your home could be saved in an emergency.

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