Global warming has sped up by 40% in the past few years—industrial growth, paired with human negligence, attribute to this rapid increase.
As a result, wildfires are becoming more common nowadays. These terrifying catastrophes spare no one and leave nothing but ash, smoke, and death in their wake. Although it’s impossible to avoid a wildfire once it starts, you can always prepare your home to mitigate the damage.
Here’s a list of useful tips to protect your house from wildfires.
1. Create Defensible Space Zones
A defensible space zone is the first line of defense against a fast-approaching wildfire. It’s an area around your home that maintains a temporary distance between you and the blaze. The goal is to remove objects which could easily catch the flames. A well-planned zone can improve the chances of your house’s survival.
In line with the guidelines by readyforwildfire.org, you need to come up with two zones to create a 100-meter defensible space:
The inner circle of defense, it spans 30 feet from your house and relative structures.
- Get rid of combustibles such as dead plants, grass, and weed. The same goes for dry leaves and pine needles.
- Clean your roof and chimney of dead branches and organic materials.
- Cut the branches of the trees around your residence to prevent the flames from spreading quickly.
- Clip withered leaves from plants. Avoid placing plants near windows.
- Transfer wooden piles to Zone 2.
- Remove items that could catch fire anywhere near your house.
- Keep wooden furniture inside your home as much as possible. Discard flammable materials like gasoline cans.
It is the area surrounding zone one that extends up to 100-feet from buildings.
- Mow down the grass, and don’t let it grow more than 4 inches.
- Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, and small branches. However, you can permit them to a depth of 3 inches.
In addition to these, try to cooperate with your local fire department for additional precautions to take.
2. Strengthen Your Home
To prepare for the worst-case scenario, the best thing you can do is make your home fire-resistant. You can do this by:
- If possible, replace wooden parts of your roof with metal or tile.
- Cover the vents with metal mesh. Don’t use plastic because it’ll melt.
- Consider reducing the number of windows that are facing vegetation.
- Build your walls using combustion-resistant material such as stucco, fiber cement siding, treated wood, or other class-A rating materials.
- Clean your rain gutters regularly to avoid the accumulation of dry leaves.
- Always have a working fire extinguisher ready. Buckets, shovels, and rakes are also necessary to clean wooden debris.
- Keep flammable objects like paint cans and fertilizers away from ignition sources.
- Ensure that you have a consistent water supply ready to put out fires.
3. Have a Readily Accessible Fire Exit
Say you’ve done everything to prepare, but there’s still no stopping the wildfire. You need to ensure the safety of everyone in the house. Fire can spread in from any direction and block your way out. Having multiple fire exits can make a difference in saving a life. One exit for each floor is preferred, as you won’t know when a disaster can happen.
4. Work Together with Neighbors
When living in a densely populated area, your neighborhood will be the deciding factor for survival. No amount of fireproofing can help if the houses near you suddenly ignite. Collaborate with your neighbors to prepare your community for incoming disasters and worst-case scenarios.