Pro Tips: How to Be Prepared for a Wildfire
Know your risk
Wildfires can occur at any time throughout the year, but the potential is always higher during periods with little or no rainfall, which make brush, grass, and trees dry and more susceptible to burn. High winds can also contribute to spreading the fire. Wildfires breakout in a natural area, such as a forest, grassland, or prairie. As building development continues to expand into these areas, homes and businesses may be situated in or near areas susceptible to wildfires. This is called the wild-land urban interface and these communities may have a designated wildfire season when the risk is particularly high.
Wildfires can cause serious damage or even destroy entire communities, they disrupt community services including transportation, gas, power, communications, and other vital services. The devastation can cover large areas with extensive burning, embers traveling more than a mile away from the wildfire itself, and smoke causing health issues for people far from the fire.
Before Wildfire season
Prepare Your Home for a Wildfire
Home Maintenance: Keep your home well-maintained by regularly cleaning your gutters of materials that could ignite due to wind-borne embers and trimming tree limbs that may be too close to your home.
Landscaping: Landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind, using fire-resistant shrubs and trees. Rock, stone, crushed concrete that can act as firebreaks. While there are no “fire-proof” plants, fire-retardant plant species include rockrose, ice plant and aloe. Hedging roses, bush honeysuckles, currant, cotoneaster, sumac and shrub apples are examples of fire-resistant shrubs.
Create Zones: Maintain defensible space zones between structures and natural growth that is free of brush, trees and grasses to help keep a wildfire away from your property. Move wood piles away from the home. The State of California requires homeowners to create two zones that make up the required 100 feet of defensible space on their property.
Be Prepared: Prepare a survival kit, map out an evacuation plan and create an inventory of all your belongings you may want to save.
Fire-Resistant Materials: If you are remodeling your home, think about including fire-resistant materials such as non-combustible roofing, soffits, decking and siding and fire-rated glass or fire shutters for windows.
During a Wildfire
Heed Evacuation Instructions: Turn on your TV/radio. You’ll get the latest weather updates and emergency instructions. If there is a wildfire in the area, be ready to evacuate on short notice.
Fire watch: If you see a wildfire and haven’t received evacuation orders yet, call 9-1-1. Don’t assume that someone else has already called.
Follow Your Plan: Take your survival kit and choose a route away from fire and smoke. Follow your evacuation plan and be sure everyone knows where to go and what to do.
After a Wildfire
Await the “All Clear”: Check with fire officials before attempting to re-enter your home. Use caution when entering since fires can re-ignite quickly, even after dying down.
Check your home: Fire damages the stability of a structure, have a professional examine your home or of office and certify that it is safe before you go in. Continue to check the property for several days following the fire.
Health and Sanitation: Discard any food or medication that may have come in contact with the smoke or fire. Do not drink, brush teeth, prepare food, or wash/bathe in water until officials indicate the water source is safe.
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