Already through July 7, there have been 26,321 fires in the United States*. Though they have burned more than 1.5 million acres and are above last year’s pace, the numbers are lower than the 10-year average.
There’s still time to get your property more wildfire-ready. And, it can be completed over the course of a weekend, leaving you time for your summertime pool parties or backyard BBQs.
Wildfire risk exists in all 50 states. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests a three-stage process to reduce wildfire fuel and fashion a buffer around property. To create defensible space and reduce your risk:
- remove dead vegetation
- trim tree branches overhanging your roof, and
- remove combustible materials around structures.
“Preparing our communities for wildfire is more critical today than ever before,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “NFPA and State Farm work closely together on this yearly campaign in a continued effort to raise awareness and educate homeowners that they have the power to save their homes and communities before a wildfire ignites, and we have the resources and information to help.”
Break your property into three zones.
Zone 1: the five feet closest to your home or business
- It requires the most careful selection and management of plants and materials. Maintaining this zone reduces the chance fire will ignite near your building and lead to a direct flame contact exposure
Zone 2: runs from five to 30 feet from your home or to the property line
- Maintaining plants in this zone helps prevent fire from climbing into the top portion of trees or shrubs. It stops fire from burning directly to your home.
- Wind-blown embers can still ignite individual islands of plants in this zone. It makes plant selection and maintenance in Zone 1 and plant spacing in Zone 2 critical. NFIP suggests removing dead materials and lower tree branches.
Zone 3: the remaining space of the property
- Maintain vegetation and be mindful of the spacing. This will reduce the energy of a wildfire, slowing its advance on your building. Proper spacing of trees and brush should force any fire in the tops of the trees, brush or shrubs to fall to the ground.
And don’t forget…
- Maintain your decks. Remove debris and vegetation from on top of your deck, and do not store wood on or underneath it. Store combustibles, like patio umbrellas and furniture, inside.
- Don’t neglect rain gutters. Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves and porches. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
- Assess your wildfire risks and review your insurance policy to make sure you’re covered in the event of a wildfire.
- Create a home inventory to assist in the claims process if wildfire does strike.