We often say how the small things matter BIG when it comes to protecting your home from wildfire. Gutters on your home certainly fall into this category. Gutters perform yeoman’s duty in getting water off of your roof and away from your foundation, certainly a very important function. But when wildfires happen, they become a hazard filled with dry dead leaves, pine needles and debris that give blowing embers a foothold for ignition to your home.
Keeping gutters clear of flammable debris is not only important, it’s not something you have to do once a year and then forget about. Maintenance of your home ignition zone is an ongoing process whether it is your gutters or other parts of your property.
And that’s not the whole story. What your gutters are made of is equally important…..metal gutters, while more expensive and sometimes requiring additional maintenance tend to fair much better under fire conditions than vinyl, which can often melt and ignite carrying fire to other parts of the structure.
NFPA, USAA, the University of California and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, (IBHS), all have information and resources on a host of risk reduction measures, including gutters. IBHS has some specific information on building materials including gutters for fire resistance in their “Best Practices Guide for Wildfire”. The University of California’s “Homeowner’s Wildfire Mitigation Guide" is another great resource for gutter and building material information. NFPA’s Firewise website provides a list of principles for reducing wildfire risk for your home and USAA has information for its members in what they need to consider to protect their home.
The small things add up, but if you take them one at a time, utilize the science based practices from the sources above, you will be able to significantly reduce your risk. So go ahead, get your mind in the gutter.
(photo credit: IBHS)