How To Prepare Your Home For Wildfire

A burned cabin that was destroyed in Washington’s 2014 Carlton Complex wildfire. Creative Commons licensed by Adam Cohn
A burned cabin that was destroyed in Washington’s 2014 Carlton Complex Fire. The fire burned hundreds of homes and outbuildings in Okanogan County and at the time became the largest fire in state history. Creative Commons licensed by Adam Cohn.

 

Homes built on the edge of forests and grasslands are especially vulnerable to wildfires. Development in this zone — known as the wildland-urban interface — is the fastest-growing land use type in the lower 48 states.

The U.S. has more than 46 million homes in this wildfire danger zone and more people moving in right when climate change is making for longer, hotter and drier wildfire seasons.

Here are a few steps you can take to protect your home from wildfire.

Home Preparation:

Roof: Replace with Class A, noncombustible materials. Prevent debris buildup by avoiding roofs with ridges and valleys, and use bird stops to seal open edges.

Gutters: Keep free of debris.

Crawlspace and attic: Install 1/8-inch metal mesh screens to keep embers out.

Windows: Replace single-pane windows with double-paned, tempered glass windows.

Chimney: Install a spark arrestor with 1/2-inch mesh to prevent embers from escaping.

Fence: Replace wood with noncombustible materials. Ensure that any part of a fence touching the home is noncombustible.

Create A Defensible Space:

Zone 1: 0-30 feet from your home. Cover the ground with noncombustible materials like gravel or concrete. Remove overhanging branches. Do not store firewood here.

Zone 2: 30-100 feet from your home. Use vegetation “islands” to break up continuous fuel sources. Limit debris and keep the grass under 8 inches.

Zone 3: 100-200 feet from your home. Maintain a minimum of 10 feet between treetops. Limit debris and remove ladder fuels — fuels that allow fires to climb vertically into the upper canopy.

In addition, write and memorize an emergency plan for your family. You may also want to pack an emergency kit with essentials like water, food and first aid materials. Find a suggested list of items on Ready.gov.

Copyright 2018 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Related Stories:

Thinning, mowing and prescribed fire are used in Ponderosa pine forests to maintain an open forest floor. CREDIT: Jes Burns/OPB/EarthFix

Washington Firefighter Quarantining With COVID; It’s A Test Of Safety Plan Ahead Of Wildfire Weather

The firefighter contracted COVID-19 outside of the fire camp. He tested positive after he left the fire. The firefighter came into contact with 14 others, who have now been quarantined and aren’t showing symptoms right now, according to the DNR. This year, fire camps have been kept smaller and more spaced out – to help prevent widespread outbreaks. Continue Reading Washington Firefighter Quarantining With COVID; It’s A Test Of Safety Plan Ahead Of Wildfire Weather