Homeowners Have A Large Role In Protecting Their Own Properties From Wildfire

CREDIT: STUART PALLEY/U.S. FOREST SERVICE
CREDIT: STUART PALLEY/U.S. FOREST SERVICE

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We’ve seen more wildfires burning into urban communities  lately. But there’s  a lot homeowners can do to protect themselves,  according to top scientists at the Missoula Fire Sciences Lab.

It’s the embers floating on the wind from a large fire that property owners have to watch out for, according to Jack Cohen, a retired scientist and expert in how wildfires destroy urban neighborhoods. Wood-sided houses with asphalt shingles are generally OK, if they’re prepared, he said.

But some of the biggest problems homeowners typically neglect?

“They need to get rid of all the flammable material, the debris on their roof and out of their gutters. They need to get rid of any flammable material, within five feet of the base of their structure.”

Cohen said homeowners also should watch out for anything leaning against the house that might act as a fire start — like a broom. And get charcoal briquettes, lighter fluid, firewood, furniture cushions and other potentially flammable items away from the house.

Note: This story was possible through a fellowship with the Institute For Journalism & Natural Resources.

Copyright 2018 Northwest News Network

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Oregon State University researcher Chris Dunn next to a Douglas fir, which burned in Oregon’s September 2020 fires and was later cut down by fire crews who considered it a safety hazard. CREDIT: Jes Burns/OPB

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