With California and other states suffering record droughts in recent years, more homes are at risk of being caught in a wildfire than ever before. If you live in an area that hasn't been receiving its fair share of rainfall over the past several years, you may be concerned about protecting your home from fire damage. Is there anything you can do to help fireproof your home, or are you limited to just purchasing extra insurance and keeping your fingers crossed? Here is how your home can be protected to withstand wildfires.
What are the best ways to protect your home from fire?
There are a few things you can do to make your home less fire-friendly and more fire-resistant:
One of the most important (and overlooked) parts of fire-protecting a home is simply ensuring that firefighters can gain access to the property when needed. If your home is on top of a lonely hill with a steep, winding driveway, it may be difficult for firefighters to access your home unless they're arriving by helicopter (which usually indicates a severe enough fire that saving your home is less of a concern than simply stopping the spread of flames).
Although you can't change where your home is located, you can do a few things to help make it easier for large trucks to gain access. You may wish to grade or add gravel to a steep driveway to provide extra traction for large vehicles, or cut down trees that might be blocking the foot of your driveway. If there's a bridge or large culvert in your driveway, you'll want to ensure that it's properly reinforced to allow access for oversized vehicles.
Eliminate paths for fire to climb
When rain is scarce, trees can dig deep into the soil to wick up small amounts of moisture to remain alive, but their leaves often become dry and brittle. Grasses and other plants with shallower roots often die. These dead plants and dried leaves provide the perfect vehicle for spreading fire. Fire may begin on the ground and burn through the dead grass, then climb a vine to the top of the tree and spread throughout the forest by consuming the dried leaves. Clearing out tall grasses or pulling down vines around your home can help ensure that any fire approaching your home can't spread through the treetops.
If you have any outdoor power outlets, propane or natural gas tanks, or other potentially combustible items, you'll want to ensure that any dry vegetation around these items is completely cleared away. Preventing the spread of fire to a propane tank in particular is vitally important, as an exploded tank can demolish your home while the wildfire itself remains yards away. If wildfires are reported in your area, you may want to wet the grass around your tank to ensure that it remains safe. For more advice, talk to a professional like Zari Consulting Group.