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What Homeowners Can Do to Prepare for Wildfires

What Homeowners Can Do to Prepare for Wildfires

Wildfires are nature’s way of clearing out dead materials and making way for new growth. Unfortunately, wildfires are becoming increasingly common and expansive, threatening more and more homes every year. Consider the Boulder County, CO, fires at the end of 2021 that destroyed more than 1,000 buildings, killed two people, and caused more than $500 million in damages.

As catastrophes like this occur more frequently, it’s important to make sure you’re ready for a wildfire. Follow this guide to prepare your property inside and out.

Outside Your Home

The National Fire Protection Association recommends adopting the “defensible space concept.” This involves creating three buffer zones on your property to help slow the spread of encroaching wildfires.

Immediate Zone

Make the 5-foot perimeter around your house a non-combustible zone. Here’s how:

  • Clean the gutters and roof of dead leaves, pine needles, and other debris.
  • Replace missing shingles to prevent ember penetration.
  • Install metal mesh screens over attic and roof vents.
  • Repair or replace damaged window screens.
  • Remove flammable materials from around exterior walls, including mulch, plants, dead leaves, and firewood.
  • Screen in any open areas below your deck with wire mesh. Don’t use this as a storage area.

Intermediate Zone

The 5- to 30-foot zone around your house should contain intentional landscaping and properly spaced trees. Here’s what to do:

  • Clear vegetation from beneath stationary propane tanks.
  • Incorporate driveways, paths, and patios as fuel breaks.
  • Mow your lawn regularly.
  • Prune trees 6 to 10 feet from ground level and remove vegetation under trees so fire can’t reach the crowns as easily.
  • Space small clusters of trees at least 18 feet apart.

Extended Zone

From 30 to 200 feet out, the goal is to interrupt a wildfire’s path and keep the flames small. Here’s how:

  • Dispose of ground litter.
  • Remove dead plant material.
  • Remove small trees growing between mature trees.
  • Remove vegetation near storage sheds or outbuildings.
  • Space trees 6 to 12 feet apart.

Inside Your Home

In addition to preparing your yard, take these steps to make the inside of your home safe from wildfires:

  • Ensure all smoke alarms are functional.
  • Have at least one fire extinguisher available.
  • Build a wildfire preparedness kit for each family member.
  • Keep important documents in a fireproof safe.
  • Have an evacuation plan, both for exiting the house and leaving town.
  • Have a destination in mind if you must evacuate.

Has a Wildfire Impacted Your Home Been?

DKI has helped residential and commercial property owners recover from wildfire damage for nearly 50 years. Our team has the skills, knowledge, and experience needed to help you get back on your feet after a catastrophe. Let us handle the cleanup process from start to finish, including arranging compensation from your insurance company.

Please call our fire damage restoration company at 844.345.2255 or contact us online to request services. We have over 200 locations across the United States to serve you.