The warm seasons of the year mean spending more time outdoors and in nature, but it also means wildfire season for some areas. If you live in a region threatened by forest fires, read our guide on how to protect your home and household.
Proof the Roof
A home’s roof is the most common way for a house to ignite due to a forest fire. Many roofs are made with wood or other flammable materials that act like kindling for nearby wildfires.
The roof is an excellent place to start if you want to fortify your home to be as protected from fire as possible—metal, asphalt, or tile roofs are much more resistant to fire. Or, you can coat your existing wooden roof with a fire-retardant treatment if you don’t want to replace the entire roof.
Pro Tip: Consider installing a rooftop sprinkler system as a last resort for fighting forest fire flames.
Create a Fire-Resistant Perimeter
Guarding the immediate and surrounding area of your home is integral to keeping your house safe and protected from fire. Make sure no surrounding trees, branches, or wooden fences are touching your home as they can be conduits that allow fire to reach your house quickly.
Maintain a fire-resistant perimeter around your home, up to 100 feet. Ensure that vegetation is spread out, grass and plants are watered, and tree branches are pruned to slow or stop any possible incoming forest fire.
Pro Tip: Keep propane tanks and firewood piles at least 30 feet from the house.
Cover and Protect Home Openings
The number one culprit for fire damage to a home is not the direct burning of nearby flames but the embers and hot debris carried by the wind to and inside the home. Keep embers from entering your home by ensuring all vents outside the house are covered.
Consider installing steel mesh screens on any air vents around the house and fireproof screens behind any windows you typically keep open. You might even want to consider fire-resistant windows, as heated windows can crack and break easily.
Have an Emergency Kit Ready
Forest fires are unpredictable, unexpected, and can quickly bear down on you and your home. You don’t want to scramble when trying to remember what to grab while evacuating your home, so it’s wise to have an emergency wildfire kit ready to go at a moment’s notice.
An emergency forest fire bag should have essentials for protecting you and your household, such as a first aid kit and fire-resistant clothing to protect you from the forest fire if you must escape on foot. Other materials you should have ready for an emergency fire evacuation include:
- – Water (one gallon per person per day)
- – Nonperishable food (enough for three days per person)
- – Flashlight (with extra batteries)
- – Face mask/coverings to reduce smoke inhalation
- – Map of the surrounding area
Keep these simple tips in mind to protect your home and household in the event of a forest fire.