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February 15, 2018

What You Can Learn from Recent Wildfires on Protecting Your Home

What You Can Learn from Recent Wildfires on Protecting Your Home

Over the last 12 months, the United States has had numerous outbreaks of fires. These fires happen in any type of dry climate. Many of them create significant damage. They destroy entire communities.

Many homeowners do not realize there are steps they can take to minimize these risks. You cannot stop forest fires from occurring on a grand scale. And, you will always need home insurance to help you cover the losses from these types of events. However, there are steps you can take to protect your home.

Create a Defensible Space Around Your Home

At the heart of reducing the risk of wildfires is your ability to create a space around your home that slows down the wildfire’s access to it. It may even allow the fire to go all the way around the home, leaving it untouched. To do that, consider these steps.

  • Use native vegetation in the area that is less likely to catch on fire.
  • Be sure an irrigation system is in place and working well.
  • Be sure all vegetation surrounding your home is healthy. Remove dead or dying limbs. Prune all trees and shrubs.
  • Space out larger trees to limit their ability to touch and spread a fire. Aim for at least 10 feet between them.
  • Be sure all flammable liquids around your home are safely stored. Use metal cans for them.
  • Do not use wooden fencing that connects to your home and to the neighbor’s home.

Utilize Nonflammable Materials

The fact is, many wildfires will spread close to the home. To avoid the most extensive damage, utilize non-flammable materials or build your home with fire-resistant materials wherever possible. Many residents of fire-prone areas have convenient access to these materials.

  • Non-combustible roofing materials are essential.
  • Install spark arresters within the chimney.
  • Use fire-resistant materials such as treated wood to box in all of the home’s eaves, soffits, subfloors, and fascia.
  • Cover exterior walls with materials that will not catch on fire. This includes stucco, brick, or even stone.
  • Place non-combustible screening over the top of all eaves and vent openings.

It is also a good time to speak to your home insurance agent. Be sure that your insurance coverage is ample. Discuss any type of risks the agent sees on your property. He or she can offer advice on minimizing these types of risks. Be aggressive in defending your home. You may be able to watch the fire spread around it instead.

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