The summer-like weather of SoCal often gives us amazing sunny days but makes our homes more susceptible to wildfires. Flying embers from wildfires can travel up to a mile from the source of a forest or vegetation fire and more than 2.7 million Californians live in high-risk areas. With awareness comes prevention, and the key to preventing wildfires from affecting your home is to be proactive! Here are 6 fireproofing and prevention tips.
Did you know your drought-tolerant yard can also be fire-resistant? The key is to plant herbs and flowers that are native to California. This type of landscaping helps you conserve water while creating a tranquil yard that won’t break the bank. Plants like lavender, sage, wax-leaf privet, and Purple Queen succulents can also protect your homes because they can hold hot embers for a longer length of time, preventing fires from spreading quickly.
Clear Debris from Your Roof
The roof is the most vulnerable part of your home, but it can also be a great defense. If your roof has gathered leaves, branches, pine needles and debris, it’s best to clear them regularly. Clearing your roof once a month will help save you from giving a wildfire extra fuel. Also, check your roof to see if there are any empty spaces. Block any spaces between roof decking and covering with non-combustible and fire-resistant material to prevent embers from catching.
Open vents on the sides of your home or attic can be an open door for flying embers. Before an ember ignites a fire inside your home, fire officials recommend covering vent openings with at least ¼ inch metal mesh. The small wire mesh can help fireproof attic or basement vents and they can easily be found at your local hardware store.
Turn Up Your Raking & Pruning
It may sound simple, but making a habit of raking away old leaves and pruning tree branches can significantly help reduce wildfires from touching your home, especially in the 0-5 feet immediate zone surrounding it. In fire-prone neighborhoods, fire officials highly recommend clearing all dead plants, leaves, and pine needles from your yard. Additionally, clearing flammable material from wall exteriors like mulch and firewood piles will go a long way toward removing fuel for wildfires. So, it’s a good idea to get a ladder and pull out any vegetation that may have collected in rain gutters. Make a project of it a few times a month with your family or ask your gardener.
Elevate Your Window Safety
We love opening up the windows to let in natural light, especially in the spring and summer months. A great way to protect your windows from wildfires is to install dual-paned windows and replace screens. A dual-paned window reduces the chance of breakage due to high heat exposure. “When working on homes that have been affected by wildfires, we’ve upgraded windows with dual-pane during repairs,” said Jessica Lawson, Disaster Recovery Program Manager at Habitat LA, “because they’re good for numerous reasons including protection from fires, strong winds, and they even help reduce energy bills in the long run.” If you have weathered or torn screens, swap those out to increase ember resistance.
The Impact of Wildfires & How You Can Help
Supporting families affected by natural disasters requires collaborative efforts. “At Habitat LA, most recently, we’ve put together volunteer days to clear organic debris and burnt trees from a property before the family moves back into their home in Agoura Hills after rebuilding,” said Jessica Lawson, “Additionally, amazing and energetic youth from local high schools have volunteered to up us clear burnt trees in the Juniper Hills area.”
As recovery continues and wildfire risk remains high in Southern California, there are ways YOU can protect your home and even help support recovery efforts. Your support helps give the families the means to rebuild and strengthen their lives, homes, and communities. If you have any further questions about Habitat LA’s disaster relief efforts and ways you can be involved, you can learn more by contacting email@example.com.