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Tips to Protect Families and Homes from Wildfires

In light of recent wildfires that have devastated some California communities, the National Fire Protection Association has issued the following tips on how to protect your family and your home:

  • If you’re moving to a new home in a rural area or buying land to build a new home, do a thorough outdoor fire safety check before you proceed. Locate the home on the lot with adequate setback from downhill slopes. Wildland fire travels uphill rapidly – make sure that your home won’t be in its path.
  • Make sure that the area has adequate public fire protection available. Will emergency vehicles have easy access to the house? Is you address clearly visible from the road. Will firefighters have access to a water supply to put out a fire?
  • Make your roof fire-safe. Untreated-wood shake roofs are the leading cause of wildland fire losses. A roof made of fire-resistant or noncombustible materials can make your home safer. Also, use non-combustible (metal) screening in eave vents and for windows.
  • Sweep gutters, roofs and eaves regularly and remove dead branches from around or near chimneys. Burning firebrands or embers can collect in the same space that leaves and pine needles do. Remove leaves and needles from cellar window walls and from corners and crevices around the outside of your home.
  • Create a survivable space, safety zone or “fire break” around your home. Flammable (highly resinous) plants, woodpiles and debris should be kept as far away as possible from the exterior walls of the home. Fences, decks or outbuildings connected to the house must be considered part of the house; construct them out of non-combustible materials and keep them clear of pine needles, dried leaves, etc.

For even more safety tips, visit the Firewise Communities Web site.

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