Three Things You Need To Know About Protecting Your Home From Wildfires

Construction & Contractors Blog

The year 2015 was the warmest on record so far, and wildfires ran rampant over many parts of the American West. Homeowners everywhere would be wise to learn various ways to protect their homes from being damaged or destroyed by wildfires. Following are three things about wildfires that you need to know in order to help keep your property and family as safe as possible.

Wildfires Often Travel By Airborne Sparks

It's commonly believed that wildfire activity usually spreads via burning grass, trees, and other vegetation, but it also frequently travels by sparks that become airborne because of wind. Installing roofing material that is fire-resistant is a good way to guard against airborne sparks. The most effective fire resistance is provided by Class A roofing materials. These include clay, slate, concrete, aluminum,  asphalt glass fiber shingles, and certain types of plastic and rubber materials.

Certain Landscaping Plants Are More Flammable Than Others

Although all plant material burns, some contains resin or sap that facilitate fire activity. Most conifers add significant fuel to the fire. Juniper shrubs that were once widely planted in masses because of their evergreen, easy-care properties provide an excellent example of the type of landscaping with serious potential to help fires spread. You should also never have a conifer tree close enough to your home to overhang your roof. Fruit trees such as apples and cherries provide better fire protection, and shrubs like roses and cotoneaster are fare better choices than evergreen plants. You should also take care to use nonflammable mulch products such as stone or oyster shells rather than bark mulch, wood chips, sawdust, or any other highly flammable materials.

Creating Defensible Space is Essential

Creating defensible space 100 feet in each direction from all sides of your home minimizes chances of your house being destroyed or damaged by wildfire activity. There are two separate zones involved in defensible space. The first zone begins at your home exterior and extends out 30 feet. This zone should feature fire-resistant landscaping and be free of dried vegetation, overhanging branches, vegetation under and around wooden decks, and stacks of firewood. There should be a separation between larger plants such as shrubs and trees from each other as well as from the house, deck, and any outbuildings. The second zone should also have spacing between shrubs and trees, be free of significant dead or dying vegetation, and grass should be kept under 4 inches.

Keep in mind that these fire protection measures are meant to provide you and your family with more time to escape in the event that your area becomes affected by a wildfire and to give local fire departments more time to arrive on the scene. 

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21 January 2016

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