The end of the school year is the time when many families are on the “hunt” for a new home. As I begin my journey to look for a home here in the North East, I realize how many things have to be inspected and considered. But did you think about considering wildfire preparedness work that needs to be completed as you are looking at the home and deciding if it works for you and your family? It is important to take into account such considerations as the commute to work, schools, roads, and proximity of services, but don’t forget maintenance needed to protect your home from wildfire. This may be a new consideration for some who have lived in cities and want to move out to a rural area.
Look carefully at the construction of the home, the surrounding topography and the landscape surrounding the home especially considering the first 5 feet around the home. Think about what you will need to do to protect your investment from wildfire if you choose to buy the home. My real estate agent and I discussed many of these details and others:
- Roof construction; Was the roof constructed using a fire rated Class A system and is it well maintained to prevent ember intrusion?
- Vents and other openings and cracks in the home construction; Are these areas adequately constructed to prevent ember intrusion?
- Attachments such as fences, awnings, and trellises; If they are attached to the house, they are a part of the house.
- The amount of trash on the property such as plywood, oily rags, and other debris
- The proximity of the home to steep hillsides and the condition of the landscape maintenance or lack of maintenance on hillsides say below the deck or the home itself
- The landscape surrounding the home
- The cleanliness of gutters and decks
The Firewise tip sheet has additional helpful information for you as you are considering that important purchase. If you are checking statistics such as the weather conditions and crime rate, make sure that you check to see if you are moving into an area with a higher fire risk. It is important to be aware of your risk and realize in advance what changes you will need to make not only to protect one of the biggest investments of your life but also those you love.
Photo by Faith Berry