During wildfires, most homes are lost as a result of ember showers that deposit glowing embers on vulnerable areas like roof valleys, gutters and lawn furniture. They smolder in gathered pine needles, leaves and even furniture cushions – eventually igniting nearby flammable structures such as fascia boards, fences, decks, and siding. Embers can travel many miles from a wildfire causing this type of secondary damage.
The other homes lost during wildfires are a result of ground and “ladder” fuels that lead fire directly to flammable structures and components. Defensible space is not a moonscape; you don’t have to compromise trees or landscaping for fire safety.
Define your defensible space. Create 30 – 100 feet of fire-resistant space around your home to prevent fires from starting near or spreading to your home.
Reduce flammable brush around your home and under nearby trees. Trim or remove brush to eliminate a direct path for fire to reach your home or spread into trees.
Prune or remove trees. Prune low hanging branches and thin out dense stands to reduce the potential for fire to reach tree tops and spread to other trees.
Keep grass and weeds cut low. Trim grass and weeds to less than 4” to prevent rapid spread of fire and high flames.
Clear wood piles and building materials away from your home. Keep combustible materials at least 30 feet away from your home and outbuildings. Keep all brush and weeds at least 10 feet away from wood piles, propane and fuel tanks.
Keep your yard and roof clean. Clear pine needles, leaves and debris from your yard, deck, roof and gutters to reduce places where embers can smolder and ignite your home. Remove overhanging and dead tree branches.
Keep address signs visible. Post easy-to-read address signs and trim vegetation away from driveways so emergency personnel can find and access your home quickly.
Choose fire-resistant building materials and lawn furniture. Use fire-resistant roofing, siding, decking and fencing materials. Choose non-combustible lawn furniture to prevent the spread fire to your home. Install and maintain spark arrestors on chimneys.
Recycle yard debris – avoid burning. Instead of burning, recycle or compost your yard waste.
Be prepared to respond to wildfire. Keep a 72-hour kit handy. Know evacuation routes from your neighborhood and practice them with your family, using a checklist of what to take and how to prepare your home before leaving.