Many times I have seen pictures of a lone home that survived a wildfire while all the surrounding homes in the neighborhood burned. Recently I saw a compelling 3-D image shared by the New York Timesof one home that survived on a street in Paradise while all the surrounding homes burned. Was it luck, a miracle, or is there more to it? Although there is never a guarantee, there are many things homeowners can do to help their homes survive a wildfire.
If you look closely at the 3-D shot you can see some things this homeowner did that helped to protect their home:
1. Hardscaping -- rock has been used in the landscaping close to the home
2. A well-maintained roof
3. The yard was cleared of debris -- no trash, leaves or other debris, especially within the first 5 feet
4. The area around the bottom of the home is covered
5. The vent at the base of the home has screening
Siting and relative location to other flammable structures also played a part. It appears that the trees next to the home absorbed the heat from one home that ignited close to this home and it was far enough away from other homes that ignited.
NFPA®has created resources to help you learn what causes homes to burn and what steps you can take to increase the survivability of your home. These resources help you look at the “Home Ignition Zone”, completing wildfire safety project work that can help make your home safer. Still don’t have a good resolution for the New Year? How about increasing the wildfire safety of your home and neighborhood by taking action today? Followtips you can downloadat no cost from NFPA's Firewise USA® webpage.
Photo: Home that survived a wildfire in Durango, Colorado, by Faith Berry.