Five things you can do this weekend to protect your home from wildfires – Forest Research and Service


Reposted from UC ANR news

Despite the recent rains, fires are still a danger across California this fall as there is still plenty of time for grass, wood debris and other flammable materials to dry out and ignite.

“The smaller fuels — pine needles, grass and small twigs — can dry out quickly, meaning they’ll be ready to burn again after a few days or weeks of heavy rain,” said Susie Kocher of UC Cooperative Extension Forestry. And for the Central Sierra Natural Resources Advisor, residents are urged to take steps to prevent or limit potential fire hazards.

In this time of drought and climate change, not every project needs a bank-breaking budget and an army of contractors when it comes to “hardening the house” and essential wildfire preparation.

With a quick run to the hardware store and some basic planning and safety precautions, there are small — but significant — home and landscaping improvements that most people can complete on their own in a weekend.

“There are many factors that play into your home’s fire vulnerability. Small changes and improvements can help reduce some of that risk for people who live in high wildfire risk areas,” Kocher said. There are small projects that can be tackled, which will reduce the risk. The main goal of these actions is to reduce the risk of a wildfire burning your home.

Kocher recommends these five measures as simple but critical ways to strengthen your home’s wildfire resilience.

Clean dirt from your roof. Due to its large surface area, the roof is the most exposed area of ​​your home to embers. Removing accumulated leaves and needles is especially important if there is a “complex roof” with dormers or other elements – where embers can collect and come in contact with flammable panels. (And while you’re at it, give those gutters a good rinse.) Learn more about maintaining your roof and deck.

Apply metal flashing to vulnerable areas. Replacing all of your siding with non-combustible material can be expensive, but a more manageable job is to add rust-resistant metal flashing to select areas: roof-to-wall junctions, where the chimney exits the roof, and where the siding meets the house. Learn other ways to deepen your horizons.

Remove debris from between the deck and your fence boards. Embers can ignite leaves and needles stuck between the boards, so make sure to keep the gaps clean and clear. Learn more steps to strengthen your siding and prepare your fence.

Remove all vegetation (living or dead) within five feet of your home. Creating a safe area immediately around your home is a priority, so make sure there is nothing flammable in this “Zone Zero.” Plants, compost, wood piles, wicker furniture or anything that could catch fire should be removed. Find out what to do in other “zones” when you’re away from home.

Investigate ventilation and upgrade to fine mesh screens. Install or replace at least a 1/8″ (1/16″) non-flammable, rust-resistant metal mesh screen. These screens will help keep embers from entering your attic and traveling anywhere. Also, if you have time before a wildfire, consider installing some vent covers that can be installed. Learn other ways to reduce exposure to ventilators.

For a more in-depth explanation and next steps, Kocher suggests visiting the UC ANR wildfire website ( and this home improvement guide ( .

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