Harden Your Home Against Wildfires
- Embers can damage or destroy homes up to a mile away. -
Home hardening means creating a defensible space around your property and preparing your home to withstand ignition (typically from drifting embers). Start with these easy steps to help give firefighters a stronger chance of defending your home during the next fire.
Your roof is the most vulnerable part of your home. Homes with wood or shingle roofs are at high risk of being destroyed during a wildfire.
- Seal or repair any gaps between roofing materials to prevent embers from catching.
Vents on homes create openings for flying embers.
- Cover all vent openings with metal mesh.
- Do not use fiberglass or plastic mesh because they can melt and burn.
Heat from a wildfire can cause windows to break even before the home is on fire. This allows burning embers to enter and start fires inside. Single-paned and large windows are particularly vulnerable.
- Install dual-paned windows with one pane of tempered glass to reduce the chance of breakage in a fire.
Wood products, such as boards, panels or shingles, are common siding materials - These are flammable and not good choices for fire-prone areas.
- Build or remodel your walls with flame-resistant building materials, such as stucco, fiber cement wall siding, fire retardant, treated wood, or other approved materials.
- Be sure to extend materials from the foundation to the roof.
Decks and Patio Covers
- Surfaces within 10 feet of your home should be built with ignition-resistant, non-combustible materials.
- Ensure that all combustible items are removed from underneath your deck.
- Keep rain gutters clear or enclose rain gutters to prevent accumulation of plant debris.
- Cover your chimney and stovepipe outlets with a metal screen.
- Keep a fire extinguisher and tools such as a shovel, rake, bucket, and hose available for fire emergencies.
- Install weather stripping around and under the garage door to prevent embers from blowing through gaps.
- Store all combustibles and flammable liquids away from possible ignition sources.
- Consider using ignition-resistant, non-combustible fence materials.
Driveways and Access Roads
Driveways should be built and maintained in accordance with state and local codes to allow fire and emergency vehicles to reach your home.
- Consider maintaining access roads with a minimum of 10 feet of clearance on either side, allowing for two-way traffic.
- Ensure that all gates open inward and are wide enough to accommodate emergency equipment.
- Trim trees and shrubs overhanging the road to allow emergency vehicles to pass.
- Make sure your address is clearly visible from the road.
- Consider having multiple garden hoses that are long enough to reach all areas of your home and other structures on your property.
- If you have a pool or well, consider getting a pump.