Remember, the main reason for implementing defensible space is to protect your home from an advancing wildland fire. Fire hardening should be part of your overall plan.
By fire hardening we mean the steps you can take to reduce the chance of ignition from direct flame, firebrand showers and radiant heat coming from outside of the defensible zone.
What gives a home the best chance to survive a wildfire are its construction materials and the quality of defensible space surrounding it. Embers from a wildfire may find the weak link in your home’s fire protection and gain the upper hand because of a small, overlooked or seemingly inconsequential factor.
Some tips to keep your home safe:
- Start by making sure your roof and gutters are clear of flammable vegetation like leaves and pine needles
- Remove dry grasses from around your home
- Keep desired vegetation well-irrigated
- Clear flammable materials from your deck and below, including wood storage, brooms and easily ignitable patio furniture
- Enclose and seal the area under your deck from wind-driven embers
- Move the woodpile and lidded garbage cans at least 30 feet or more from the house. Install fine wire mesh screen over roof, eave and foundation vents
- Inspect chimney and install a spark-arresting mesh screen
- Relocate propane tanks and other flammable materials to 30 feet or more from the house
- Retrofit windows, doors, siding and decking with fire-resistant products, as time and budget allow
- A replacement double pane, metal – not vinyl – window can make the difference between survival and loss
Home Hardening Self-Assessments
Form LE100 is used by the Napa County Fire Marshall, and is a good tool for self-assessment.
Home Hardening Video Resources
Watch this live and very informative demonstration on how a wildfire can affect a home.