Preparing Your Home for Fire Season
Touring the Sierra Nevada mountains in Amador and Alpine counties is a relaxing drive with cool breezes and fantastic views. Large patches around the peaks of Kit Carson Pass are brown and dry – evidence of a dry winter. With the lack of a snowpack on the slopes of the Sierra Nevadas, water will likely be in short supply this year. The possibility of water rationing and restricted water usage is likely. When you combine tight water usages, dry vegetation, and the burn scars from last year’s fire season, you have one dangerous “perfect storm.” This is an ominous start to Fire Season 2021.
At the end of April 2021, several things quickly became apparent:
- The mountain views are outstanding
- The snow, the source of California’s summer water, is not there!
No one wants a repeat of last year’s fire season.
You can do something.
You can prepare your home for Fire Season 2021.
Here are three simple steps you can take to prepare your home and property for the potential of wildfires.
Benjamin Franklin famously said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Step 1: Clean up your yard
Fire survives where there is material to eat and oxygen to breathe.
For a moment, pretend you are a hungry flame that wants to live!
Now, look at your yard.
Is it an all-you-can-eat buffet for a hungry flame?
See those dry weeds and dead grass – they would make a great appetizer.
What about that pile of old wood just around the corner? What a great snack!
Oh, wait! See those old propane tanks? With a bit of heat, those seals would leak the good stuff!
The jewel of the property – your house – is now on the menu!
Step 2: Create a Defensible Space of at least 300 feet
Defensible space is a buffer between your home and any wildlands, trees, and shrubs around your home. You can still have the landscaping of your dreams. Just balance your dreams with practical safety measures.
California Fire suggests you create a dual-zoned “defensible space.”
- The first zone is 60 feet from your home
- The second zone is 100 feet from your home
- If you do not have 100 feet from your house, go as far out as possible
Zone One – 100 Feet
You don’t have to tear everything out and plant rocks in your front yard – unless that is your preferred style.
Instead, focus on removing what a fire could eat and get rid of it. These fire yummies include:
- Dead plants, grass, and weeds
- Dry leaves and pine needles hiding on your roof and in your rain gutters
- Dead limbs on trees and bushes.
- Don’t forget the dried leaves and other flammable items hiding under your deck and patio.
- Move your winter woodpile into Zone 2
The point of Zone 1 is to create a separation between your home and things that can catch fire. Sparks can only travel so far, so this fire break is an easy step to take.
Zone 2 – 100 to 300 feet from your home
What if you want trees, tall flowering bushes, and evergreens? Or want more privacy as only nature can give you?
By all means, get them.
Design your landscape to fit in Zone 2.
No one says you have to live with baked earth look or some Sahara shabby chic.
However, practice good spacing between plants both vertically and horizontally. The recommended distances vary according to the slope of your yard.
Step 3: Add in Fire-Resistant Landscaping and Plants
You don’t have to plant a rock garden or cultivate six types of cacti to have fire-resistant landscaping.
There are many varieties of beautiful plants that add pops of color, textures, and multiple height variations.
Mix beautiful plants to your existing landscaping that are resistant to heat, drought, and the spread of fire.
Step 4: Fire Resistant Materials
When doing your yearly maintenance, take a moment to find materials that are better suited to higher temperatures.
Here is a shortlist of ideas to help keep your home beautiful and resist fire:
- Instead of picking up the same old water sealant for your fence, do a bit of research to find one with fire retardant in it.
- Install Siding that looks like wood but comes with a high melting point and flame retardant
- Use Fire Retardant OSB for that treehouse you promised the kids
- Install Fire Rated Doors
- Add new energy-efficient windows
- Use fire bricks around your BBQ pit
- Look for fire-rated glass to replace old and cracked windows
- Use tiles and metal shingles when repairing or replacing your roof.
Want to take action but can’t take time off?
We understand the struggle to prepare for fire season but still have to work.
That is where we at Viking Property Services can help.
- Take a few pictures of what you want to go.
- Text them to (209) 872-0323 with your city and contact details.
- Viking Property Services will send you a no-obligation estimate of what we see – no hidden fees!
We do it all – from single item removals and garden debris to multi-acre cleanups.
We can help you get the peace of mind and security you need.
For more information on how to prepare your home for fire season, call us at (209) 872-0323 or contact us today!