Research shows that both homes and their immediate surroundings play a critical role in a home surviving a wildfire. Your home’s building materials, design and landscaping choices can increase the risk of your home catching fire during a wildfire. If a wildfire burns near your home, its intensity can be reduced or even stopped if “fuel” is managed on your property.
To prepare your home and the area around your home, start with the home and then move on to the landscape. The “home inflammation zone” is your home and neighborhood at 100-200 feet. Often a person’s home inflammation zone overlaps with their neighbor’s property. In those cases, it is important to work together to reduce the shared risk of wildfires.
Consider these wildfire risk reduction home and landscaping guidelines to reduce or change the fuel in your home ignition zone.
The house and its building materials
- Regularly remove leaf litter and pine needles from your roof and rain gutters. Remove all tree limbs within 10 feet of the roof. Build roofs and gutters from fire-resistant materials.
- Use fire-resistant building materials for the exterior walls and seal any gaps or cracks.
- Make sure your chimney has a spark arrestor installed.
- Use heavy wood or non-combustible construction material for decks. Close the bottom to prevent leaf litter from blowing underneath. If decks are not closed, constantly remove any debris that collects. Never store flammable materials under raised decks or porches.
- Cover all vents with 1/8 ”metal mesh screen.
- Remove all flammable plants, debris and material within the first 3-5 feet around all buildings.
- Regularly remove dead vegetation, dried leaves and pine needles from the home inflammation zone.
- Keep lawns green and cut.
- Remove lower branches of evergreen trees up and away from the ground.
- Limit the number of evergreen plants within 30 feet of your home.
- Benefit deciduous trees over evergreen plants in your home inflammation zone.
- Store firewood at least 30 feet from structures.
To learn more about ways to protect your home and property from wildfires, visit the DNR’s Preparing Your Property website.
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