How to protect your home from forest fires

Wildfire can pose a threat to your home, especially if you live in areas with dry, hot weather, such as the streets Orange County, California, or Clark County, NV. Weather conditions like drought, extreme heat, high winds, and the surrounding vegetation in the area can all affect how quickly wildfire spreads. So what can homeowners do to prepare for the forest fire season? Protecting your home starts with small, manageable steps, and luckily, there are many inexpensive improvements you can make to keep your home safe from forest fires.

1. Keep the ignition areas around your home clear or with limited vegetation

First and foremost, you want to create defensible zones of space around your home to reduce the number of sources of fuel for wildfire. The ignition zone encompasses your home itself and the immediate surroundings up to 60 m and is divided into three sub-zones: immediate zone (0-5 feet), intermediate zone (5-30 feet) and extended zone (30-100 + feet). When fireproofing your home, start with the house itself and work your way out to remove any combustible materials or debris that could ignite and start a fire. You will want to understand those of your home too Degree of risk from forest fire damage to prioritize more extensive fire protection measures.

2. Remove dead plants, shrubs or bushes from under trees and around the foundation of your home

Regularly inspect your defensible space by making sure that there are no dead plants or combustible debris building up in this area. Dead or dry vegetation, such as dried leaves, pine needles, or branches, can quickly become a fuel source for forest fires and should be removed to slow the spread of a fire.

3. Regularly clean your gutters and remove dead plants or debris from your roof

While metal gutters won’t ignite, dead plants or dirt that builds up on your roof over time can. Be sure to clean your gutters and roof to remove leaves or flammable materials that could trap embers and cause wildfire. Also, prune any branches that extend across your home or are within 10 feet of the chimney.

4. Cover your home with Class A non-combustible materials

The roof is the most vulnerable part of your home and should be made of fire resistant roofing materials such as concrete and clay tiles, metal, slate, or composite shingles to give the entire structure a better chance of surviving a fire. Whether you’re replacing an old roof or upgrading to more extensive fire-resistant roofing, a professional can help you determine what type of rating is best for the roofs in your area.

5. Use multi-pane or toughened glass for your windows

Extreme differences in temperature caused by wildfire can cause single-pane windows to break and crack, allowing wind-blown embers to quickly penetrate your home. Replace your windows with multi-pane or tempered glass to provide additional protection in a wildfire and to reduce the risk of breakage from extreme heat. Make sure to close all windows during wildfire as even multi-pane or toughened glass windows will not protect your home if left open.

6. Use non-flammable decking that is designed for areas where there is a fire hazard

Keeping your deck free of combustible debris is a critical step – both on the top and the bottom Enjoy your deck safely during the warmer months. When choosing building materials for your patio, use Class A composite materials made from PVC and wood fiber. It is also important to remove all combustible materials from below the deck, as embers can fall through the cracks in the board and land on items stored below.

7. Make sure your house wall is at least 6 inches above the floor

When the siding of your home hits the floor, embers can build up as the base of the wall and ignite the siding. To prevent this from happening, make sure there is at least 6 inches of concrete exposed at the base of the wall, or install sheet metal to protect it.

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