If you’re experiencing a long, hot and dry summer in your area and keep hearing of forest fires close enough to cause concern, it’s a good idea to fortify your house as much as you can. We recently talked about preparing to evacuate, and this is an extension of that.
In the big picture, many ways to protect your home involve prevention methods such as maintaining any vehicles or equipment that may cause sparks, burning debris properly and extinguishing any fires or burns completely.
Here are 14 steps you can take to increase the chance of your home surviving a wildfire:
- Remove all dead plants, grass and weeds.
- Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof, and rain gutters.
- Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.
- Remove dead branches that hang over your roof. And keep branches at least 10 feet away from your chimney.
- Relocate exposed woodpiles further away from the house unless they are completely covered in a fire resistant material.
- Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows.
- Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks.
- Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, swing sets, etc.
- Cut or mow annual grass down to maximum height of 4 inches.
- Create horizontal spacing between trees and shrubs.
- Create vertical spacing between grass, shrubs and trees.
- Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones and small branches. However, they may be permitted to a depth of 4 inches if erosion control is an issue.
- Mow before 10am, but never when it’s windy or excessively dry.
- Protect water quality. Do not clear vegetation near waterways down to bare soil. Vegetation removal can cause soil erosion— especially on steep slopes. In the case that the quality of your drinking water decreases dangerously, it’s a good idea to have a household water purifier on hand, such as our LifeStraw Family 1.0.
As you can see, these home protection steps add up to an entire landscape method. It’s just one part of doing all you can to fight the spread of forest fires across the country. See here for more information on forest fire prevention and a diagram to accompany the steps!
Article contributed by Sophie Wooding – Avid gardener and cyclist in Victoria, BC and Content Writer for Frontier.io