No home is fireproof, but by taking precautions, you can help prepare your home.
Here are some ways to make your home and property more resistant to wildfire:
Create Defensible Space Zones
According to readyforwildfire.org, an important step in reducing wildfire risk to your home is the creation of defensible space zones. Think of defensible space zones as a layer of protection between your house or business and the approaching wildfire.
Zone 0: 0 feet to 5 feet
The Immediate Zone is closest to your house and the most vulnerable — it should be most aggressively maintained for fire resistance.
Zone 1: 5 feet to 30 feet
Zone 2: 30 feet to 100 feet
The Extended Zone may even include space more than 100 feet away if required by steep slopes, nearby vegetation conditions, and/or your local fire department.
Check with your local fire department for any additional defensible space or weed abatement ordinances.
Should you become separated from family members, use your communication plan. Letting family and friends know you are safe and well can bring them peace of mind — you can register yourself or search for loved ones at the Red Cross’s safeandwell.org.
If you are evacuated, return home only when officials say it is safe. If you cannot return home and have immediate housing needs, text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362 (4FEMA) to find the nearest shelter in your area (example: shelter 12345).
Please stay alert and away from dangers like:
Remember to cooperate with authorities. We can all do our part to help in an emergency by staying updated and complying when officials in the area recommend keeping phone lines clear, staying off emergency roads or taking other safety precautions.
Inspect and protect your property
Once the catastrophe has passed and you’ve checked in with friends and family, the next step is to call your insurance agent to report any property damage.
If it is safe to do so, protect your property from further damage by making small emergency repairs to your home before an insurance adjuster sees it. This could include boarding up windows, putting a tarp on the roof and salvaging undamaged items.
If possible, keep damaged items or portions of these items until the claim adjuster has visited your home. Consider photographing or videotaping the damage to provide further documentation to support your claim.
FEMA may also provide assistance after some disasters — call 800-621-3362 or go to www.DisasterAssistance.gov for more information.
A harrowing first-person account of a family outrunning one of the worst blazes in California history.