Tips for Homes in Wildfire Areas: Protecting Your Family and Home

Tips for Homes in Wildfire Areas: Protecting Your Family and Home

You love nature. Whether you choose a woodland setting, rural area, or remote mountain site, nature may come with the threat of wildfire. Wildfires often begin quietly and then spread quickly, igniting brush, trees, and even homes. The decisions you make during the construction process can reduce your risk of damage during a wildfire. We at Premier Construction know that you can reduce your risk by following these tips to help protect your family, home and property from wildfire:

Gold Standard Home Construction

  • Houses with wood-shake roofs are particularly vulnerable to flying embers, so use fire resistant roofing materials such as tile, composition shingles, metal, and copper. Finish exterior walls with noncombustible siding materials such as stucco or masonry. Upgrade to  dual pane or tempered glass windows with metal/aluminum frames.
  • Construct decks of nonflammable materials; enclose area under raised decks to prevent embers from blowing underneath. Keep a garden hose that is long enough to reach the house and structures on the property. Have a place to store combustible patio furniture in the house or garage. Be thoughtful of what you store under the deck — no flammable products!

Consistent Home Maintenance

Keep up with your chores and responsibilities:

  • Install smoke detectors and fire extinguishers throughout your home.
  • Make sure fire tools (ladder, shovel, house, rake, axe, water bucket) are handy.
  • Install a back-up generator in case electrical power is shut off.
  • Store valuable documents in a fire-resistive safe or an off-premise location.

Control Landscaping

  • You chose this property for the beautiful trees and plants. Now you need to control the perimeter from it. Maintain an adequately watered defensible space around your house on a regular basis (at least 100 feet of space on level ground and 200 feet on sloped terrain). Remove all dead plants, trees, branches, and debris. Remove all flammable native plants within 30 feet of home, remove branches that extend over the roof. Keep shrubs thinned and mow grass regularly. Long driveways should have turnaround areas suitable for large fire equipment.

Have an escape plan

“Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.” Imagine the worst possible situation and find some solutions now, when you have time to think. For example, post your house address so that it is readily visible from the street. Map out two or more escape routes out; know the backroads. 

Keep your “bug out” kit close to the back door– next to your dog’s food and leashes. Mentally prepare for the time you need to escape.