Trying to reduce your wildfire risk around your home does not have to be complicated or overwhelming. In fact, most folks can significantly improve their homes wildfire survivability over a couple of weekends. If you have fire resistant roofing and siding, you are well on your way to getting your home prepared. Next on your list is to evaluate what the ignition potential is within 5 feet of your foundation.
NFPA’s Firewise Principles and information contained in its “Assessing Wildfire Hazards in the Home Ignition Zone” course are sources of information on what to do in this critical zone. The 0-5 feet zone is the “non-combustible” zone. You want to make sure that you have nothing flammable in this zone. Natural mulches should be replaced with decorative stone or rock. Make sure if you have a deck, that it is clear of debris underneath and remove patio furniture cushions when fire weather conditions are present. Woodpiles should be no closer than 30 feet to the structure. Leaves, debris and pine needles need to be absent from roofs, porches, decks and from the 0-5 foot zone. If wood fences connect to the home, consider a metal or non-flammable section that abuts the structure.
Nooks and crannies need special attention. Think of where leaves, debris and snow blow in and around the home, this is also where embers will land before, during and after wildfire passage. Embers landing in dry debris beds of dead leaves and pine needles will gain an ignition foothold right against your home.
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, (IBHS), has suggestions for reducing your homes ignition potential. More information can be found from PURE Insurance on wildfire risk reduction as well as an excellent resource from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources that can be found here.
Reducing your wildfire risk is about making choices. With a little "sweat equity", you can save yourself, your home and even firefighters from severe wildfires. Make the right choice, before the fire starts. Be smart, be safe, be Firewise.
(photo credit: NIFC)