Don't Make it Easy for the Flames: Wildfire Home Protection Basics

For the homeowner who appreciates housing in or near a natural environment, particularly a forest or field, wildfire home protection techniques are crucial to know. They can literally be the difference between peaceful and comfortable living and being homeless, watching years of memories and hard work burn to the ground. Fire insurance may be able to replace some of the possessions, but why go through the ordeal when it can be prevented entirely?

Wildfire Home Protection Starts with Planning

There are numerous causes of wildfires. Some result because of natural forces, but there are also those that develop as a result of human actions. Therefore, in order to protect one’s property from wildfires, it only makes sense to plan ahead and minimize the risk of igniting them.

For starters, it helps to have clear space between the home and any source of potential fuel for the fire. Furthermore, utilizing flame resistant building materials is highly recommended.
Cleaning away fire hazards means clearing dry grass, brush, either through controlled burns or manually clearing through agricultural means. As for materials, this means limiting the use of wood as a building material, and relying on brick or stucco instead. Cedar shakes are a big no-no as well, even in urban areas.

The California Chaparral Institute provides extensive explanations as to why excessive clearance is a bad idea. It is all in the balance.

Wildfire Home Protection : Maintenance and You

As mentioned earlier, it is much easier to prevent a disaster than manage one. Homeowners must be vigilant in removing fuel sources, and not make it easy for embers to find a way in: secure eaves and vents (they should be screened) and well maintained (keep the gutters clean as well).

As maintenance goes, a well maintained yard is a good way to protect your house. Consistently irrigated vegetation makes it harder for wildfires to break the barrier. And beautiful shrubs and green grass is great, but make sure your yard equipment receives regular checkups and tune ups. Faulty tools can create sparks and be the cause of a lot of damage, to properties and persons alike.

And it goes without saying: you must never leave controlled fires unattended, and should never start fires in excessively windy or dry conditions.

The Collom Construction Recommendations

Here’s a list that recapitulates the steps you can take to enjoy San Diego’s heat without burning:

- Use fire resistant materials for the undersides of eaves, balconies and above ground decks
- In new construction planning, position your house away from the canyons and ridges
- Include 100 feet of “defensible space” around the house
- Install residential sprinklers
- Check that all smoke alarms function properly
- Ensure fuse boxes, circuit panels and service lines are to code and maintained
- Maintain the yard and clear away debris and dry grass
- Spring maintenance should have taken care of gutters
- Keep your gardening power tools in good order, clean and tuned up

Wildfire Home Protection is as simple as prevention and maintenance. It is important to know the risk factors and how to deal with them safely, to plan ahead with building locations and structures, modify and fireproof with renovations if necessary. Don’t play with the fire.

You deserve the Collom Construction quality