In 2018, wildfires burned more than eight million acres according to the National Interagency Fire Center. While wildfires are usually a force of nature, there are ways you can prepare for their catastrophe.
Landscape your home with fires in mind
Landscaping your home in mind of wildfires can be both beautiful and lifesaving. Remove trees, plants, and other vegetation that are known fire hazards. Take into consideration the following:
- Italian cypress trees are extremely flammable and can cause fire to quickly reach the roof. Plant 30 feet or more from your home.
- If not properly maintained, palm trees can easily combust.
- Plants such as juniper and ornamental vines should be 30 feet from the home.
- Create a break line for spreading fires with paths made of pea gravel, river rock, decomposed granite, or bare mineral soil
- Build a terraced retaining wall to keep wildfire from scattering quickly
Maintain your home’s landscape
Once your home is landscaped properly and prepared for a wildfire, there are other aspects that need to be maintained in order to keep your home safe.
- Clean out gutters and debris on the roof
- Keep wood piles 30 feet or more from the house when not in use
- Mow your lawn consistently to keep grass short
- Prune low hanging branches and any debris hanging over structures
- Clear the forest floor of any dead vegetation – you should be able to walk freely without dry bushes, leaves, pine needles, etc.
What to do during and after a wildfire
If you’re experiencing a wildfire, there are proper steps to take to make sure your family and home are safe. If you have time, follow these recommendations:
- Have a home safety kit already prepared in case an evacuation is necessary
- Close all of your doors, including the garage
- Shut off all pilot lights, air conditioning, and gas at the meter
- Leave outside lights on
- Back cars up to the driveway with keys inside
- Do not leave sprinklers or water on, this can waste critical water
- Evacuate as soon as ordered
Change starts with each of us. If we do our part to take proactive measures, we can help prevent wildfires. For more information on preparing your home, visit CAL Fire and contact Heffernan Insurance Brokers’ Personal Insurance team.