Wildfire risk used to be seasonal, but in many states, it is now a year-round risk. Brush and forest fires cause extensive damage every year, and it’s not just the Western part of the country. Any home situated on the edge of grasslands, or near brush or trees, is vulnerable. Taking the following steps can reduce a home’s vulnerability to any exterior fire.
- Look at the home’s construction. Wood siding or shingles should be replaced with fire-resistant building materials.
- Create a fire barrier. Because a wood deck, skirting, or fence can drive a fire right up to the house itself, create a break with a metal gate or concrete slab.
- Clean the gutters. Twigs, leaves, and needles trapped in the gutter are excellent tinder. Clean them out. Consider a covered gutter to keep that material from building up.
- Move the wood pile. All of that dry firewood needed in the winter should be kept well away from the home in the summer and fall.
- Trim and separate trees. Tree limbs should not be allowed to overhang the roof and should be no closer than 30 feet from the structure. The crowns of trees nearest the home should not be allowed to intermingle to minimize fire jumping from tree to tree. For trees on the grounds, remove dead branches, and trim lower branches so that a grass fire is less likely to ignite the leaves.
- Cut back brush. Bushes should be no closer than three feet from the structure. Regularly cut back brush under trees on the edge of the property.
More information can be found from your state’s forestry or fire prevention department. Wyoming has a particularly helpful website.
For information only. Not applicable to all situations.