A single spark could grow out of control.
When it comes to wildfires, time is of the essence. And while there’s no way to completely fireproof your home, with proper preparation, there are steps you can take to help defend your home if a wildfire is coming your way.
Before a Wildfire
Make a plan
Prepare your emergency kit and make a communication plan. Identify evacuation routes in your area and define a meeting point for your family.
Retrofit your home
Equipping your home with fire-resistant materials could help serve as a last line of defense.
Build your defense
Create a zone around your house to slow the wildfire or direct it around your home. This zone around your home can range from 30 feet all the way to 100 feet, depending on how much “fuel” is located in your yard.
Remove any fuel sources
While maintaining your yard, keep trees 10 feet apart, remove dead or dying trees and shrubs, and mow your lawn regularly. Promptly dispose of any cuttings and debris.
Maintain the perimeter
Keep your irrigation system in good shape, and clear your roof and gutters of leaves and debris. Move any firewood piles and storage tanks at least 50 feet away from your home. Avoid connecting any wooden fencing to your home.
Create digital copies of any important paper documents, and keep the originals in a fireproof safe.
During an Wildfire
If ordered to evacuate, do so immediately and tell someone where you’re going and when you’ve arrived.
If you spot a fire, don’t assume that someone else has already called.
After an Wildfire
Listen to authorities
Only return home when they say it’s safe. Keep checking for smoke, sparks, or embers throughout the house several hours after returning.
Hot spots may still exist and cause flare-ups without warning; evacuate immediately if you smell smoke.
Clean your home
Use a NIOSH-certified respirator and wet debris to minimize breathing dust.
Check food and water
Discard foods and water that may have been exposed to soot, smoke, or other contaminants.