Wildfires have become an increasingly prevalent threat to homes. With urbanization creeping into forested areas, the term wildland-urban interface was coined. Homes in the wildland-urban interface have a particular challenge staying safe from destruction from fire because forest management policy has prevented foresters from clearing out dead underbrush and felling dead trees. In other words, America’s forests are primed for record-setting fire seasons every year. And we’ve seen exactly that. Year after year, like clockwork, devastating wildfires ravage through entire neighborhoods in the wildland-urban interface, destroying everything in their wake. So, if you live in one of America’s wildland-urban interfaces, how do you protect your home from wildfires?
Here are four tips to protect your home from wildfires.
(1) Clean out your gutters
Gutters are the worst culprits for bringing a wildfire into your home. This is because most homes start on fire from burning embers flying through the air and landing in a leaf-filled or pine-needle filled gutter. What results is a smoldering gutter that burns like a cigarette until it finally engulfs the home on fire.
(2) Remove shrubs next to the house and trees within 20 feet of your home
At a minimum, remove all shrubbery that is touching your home. To add an extra dose of mitigation, remove all trees that would touch the home if they fell down. Little trees are probably okay, but big trees should be removed, if possible. You may not be able to do this if the big trees are on your neighbor’s property, so this is sometimes a difficult step to fulfill.
(3) Set up an external sprinkler system to run on a gas-powered generator
When it’s time to evacuate, something that would be helpful is to have a sprinkler system that can be powered by a petrol-powered generator. Start it up and get the sprinklers going with their job of soaking the home. That’s right, these sprinklers should not only be soaking the yard, but they need to be soaking your home. I’ve even seen folks set sprinklers up on top of their roofs prior to bugging out.
The reason you want this system connected to a generator is because when a fire roars through the neighborhood, electricity is almost always the first thing to go down (if it hasn’t already manually been turned off by the power companies). As an aside, you may also consider plugging your home surveillance system into the gas-powered generator to keep a bird’s eye on the fire after you’ve been evacuated.
While it’s virtually impossible to 100% fire-proof a home, there certainly are some things that can be done to mitigate the threat and reduce the risk of heartbreaking disaster. These three tips are just the start.