The danger of wildfires is nothing new to those of us living in California, but it’s a real danger nerveless. Just think back to October 2007, when a series of 30 wildfires scoured across SoCal, burning approximately 970,000 acres of land and destroying thousands of homes and millions of dollars’ worth in property.
While the 2007 wildfires were some of the worst we’d ever seen, we’re currently facing many of the same conditions exhibited 7 years ago – extreme drought, hot weather, and strong Santa Ana winds. In fact, California has already seen over 5,000 wildfires in 2014, spanning over 600,000 acres!
So what can you do to prevent losing your home to a wildfire? Unfortunately, the first – and most impactful – step would be residing somewhere with little to no risk of wildfires, but since you already live in CA, I’m guessing this is out of the question. But for the rest of us who refuse to leave the Golden State, there are a few preventative measure you can take to protect your investment and it all starts at home.
- Build your roof using materials such as composites, metal or tile. This is possibly the most important preventative measure you can take, as your roof is the most vulnerable part of your home.
- Cover any and all vents using 1/8 to 1/4-inch metal screens. Vents on the outside of your home provide an opening for embers. Be sure to avoid plastic or fiberglass mesh as these could melt, creating a new fire hazard.
- Install dual-paned, tempered glass windows. This will reduce the chance of glass breaking due to extreme heat – a possibility even before your home catches fire.
- Remodel your walls using fire-retardant materials such as brick, treated wood or stucco. Commonly used siding such as panels and shingles are often highly flammable.
- Maintain your gutters using screens or other enclosures. Plant materials will accumulate much faster than you might anticipate, and while regular cleaning will keep the water flowing through, there could still be a fire hazard if left open.
- Own the right tools to combat a fire. It’s important that everyone own a fire extinguisher in case of a house fire, but other tools such as a shovel, rake, bucket and even an accessible hose could make the difference between a slightly toasted home and one that’s burned to the ground.
Do you have any other ideas on how to protect your home from wildfires? We’d love to hear your thoughts!