While your house might be essential, it probably won’t fit in your emergency prep kit. Since you can’t get it out of harm’s way, you’ll need to get your property fire-ready.
If you’re building a new house or renovating your existing home, use fire-resistant materials. Building materials like brick, concrete, and stucco will help protect your house from fire damage—and look good doing it! For your roof, materials labeled “Class A” are the most fire resistant. Though they look nice, you should avoid wooden shingles. Fire loves wood! They’re basically best friends.
Of course, if you’re stuck with what you already have, you dgaf about that last paragraph. Luckily, there are a few other tricks to help protect your house from wildfires:
- Find an outdoor water source that can connect to a hose to reach all areas of your property. If a fire is close, but you haven’t been evacuated, you can soak your home and property to increase their fire resistance. Sparks that land on wet material are less likely to spread flames.
- Remove flammable items to create a fire-resistant zone at least 30 feet in all directions around your home. Get rid of wood, debris, leaves, neighbors, or anything else that might help the fire make friends with your house. If your neighbors don’t agree to being removed, opt instead to discuss fire safety with them, and request that they also clear their property of fire hazards.
- Clean your roof! Those leaves in your gutter from last season aren’t fire retardant.
- Build a “clean room” inside your home that can be closed off to outside air. Interior rooms without windows work best. Install an air purifier to remove pollutants from smokey conditions. Clean rooms are great when nearby fires lower your area’s air quality. (Note that having a clean room does not make you impervious to fire. Do not plan to shelter at home from a wildfire!)
A “clean room” will also benefit you during a bioterrorist attack, volcanic eruption, nuclear explosion, or any other disaster that contaminates the air.
That said, fire is still fire, no matter what you do. There’s no sure way to guarantee that your property will stay safe in the event of a wildfire. These preventative measures might buy your house some extra time, but, unfortunately, the best home protection is luck, and the best life protection is evacuation. Don’t put protecting your property ahead of protecting your life if you’re in a wildfire’s path, but do put some thought into home prep now to give yourself a better chance of coming home after the fire has passed.
On that note, let’s better prepare our minds by doing a wildfire drill!