California Wildfires: Tips on how to protect your home
After years of drought and scorching summers, California faces an active wildfire season in 2016. According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, as of August 13th, 3,874 fires have burned 112,950 acres across California.
Despite high hopes, El Nino rains continued to disappoint through the winter of 2015/2016, forcing a drought to cause above-average wildfire activity in California.
With 9 currently active fires around California, it is important to take the extra steps in protecting your home against wildfire season. Wildfires come in with a vengeance, threatening homes and lives, and proper preparations can really prepare you for the worst.
- Clear any debris surrounding your home. Remove any dried grass, stacks of firewood, and dried leaves from around your house. For extreme cases, this includes removing any wooden fences if they border too closely to your house. The clearer the area, the better the chance a fire crew will be able to protect your home.
- Secure your home. Vent openings and eaves are the most common place flames can fly into, causing fires on the interior of the home. During fire season, screen in all of your vents and openings, so the fire cannot spread. This includes regularly cleaning out your gutters, since leaves act as fuel for the fire.
- Before the season starts, gather all pictures, family mementos, and special documents. You can either take all items to a safer home, not in danger of the fires, or put everything in a fire safe. Many homes are subject to the wildfires, and it is better to be prepared and come out with the items you need most than to have nothing at all.
- Take a look at the trees. We all love the beautiful tree’s that surround our houses, but some trees may be putting us in more danger than we thought. A ten foot minimum barrier is recommended if you chose to have trees around your house. Ensuring there aren’t any trees or branches touching your house will be the difference between keeping your home safe or having it catch on fire.
While there is never a sure way to keep your home safe during this wildfire season, there are precautions you can take. A few simple steps can make all the difference in saving your home from Mother Nature’s wrath.