The first step in protecting your home from wildfire is assessing the fire risk. Each home is unique with a different risk of wildfire. Follow these steps to assess the fire risk:
• Learn the history of wildfire in your area.
• Become aware of recent weather and burn restrictions.
• Determine whether your home is easily accessible to fire fighting equipment (is it accessible to equipment or the fire fighters?). Hire a professional to inspect your home for ways to reduce your risk.
Learn and practice fire safety
• Build fires away from nearby vegetation.
• Keep fire pits at a distance from your home and other flammable exposures.
• Never leave a fire unattended.
• Always have a way to extinguish the fire quickly and completely.
• Keep fuel sources, such as brush and firewood, away from your home.
• Avoid open burning, especially during dry season.
• Install smoke detectors on each level of your home and near sleeping areas.
• Check smoke detectors monthly.
• Have an emergency evacuation plan in place.
Create safety zones around your property
All vegetation (not just dry vegetation) is potential fuel for a wildfire. Some plants are more flammable than others. Highly flammable plants include pine, eucalyptus, junipers, and fir trees. Knowing the types of plants surrounding your home will help eliminate potential hazards. Remember, the greater the distance between the vegetation and your home, the safer your home will be.
Keep the volume of vegetation within the first 30 feet surrounding the property to a minimum; this will help eliminate your risk of wildfire. If your home is on a hill, the zone should be extended on the downhill side as fire spreads more rapidly uphill.
Remove other combustibles from the 30-foot zone. This includes gas grills, propane tanks, and wood piles. Swimming pools, patios, and stone walls can act as heat shields and deflect flames away from the property.
Maintain a secondary zone up to 100 feet away from your home. In this zone, it is best to reduce and/or replace as much of the flammable vegetation as possible.
What to do after a wildfire
Check your roof immediately. The roof is especially vulnerable in a wildfire. Embers and flaming debris can travel great distances, land on the building’s roof, and start a new fire. Avoid flammable roofing materials such as wood, shake, and shingle.
Check the attic for hidden burning sparks or embers. Maintain a “fire watch,” re-checking for smoke and sparks in and around the property for several hours after the fire.
View our wildfire safety checklist.