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Are You Protecting Your Home From Wildfires?

Nov 16, 2007
The damage caused to homes and other property by wildfires every year is extensive, but if you are planning on building a home in a rural area where these fires are a risk, there are a few different things that you can do to help minimize the damage to your home.

Fireproof materials are what should be used in the construction of your new home and the surface of your home that presents the most amount of risk is the roof, because it has the largest amount of surface area of any part of the exterior. Your roof needs to be made of metal, tile, or fiberglass, never oil-based materials like asphalt shingles. Wooden shingles are also a very bad idea. These catch on fire pretty easily and when a wildfire is nearby, small sparks are carried on the wind and will land on your roof, causing it to catch on fire.

You also need to use materials for the exterior of the house like brick, stone, and metal, since these will offer the greatest amount of protection. Vinyl and wood siding will give you very little protection against the elements.

The windows that you have in your home are also going to be very important, since when the windows burst, it will allow the wind and firebrands into the house and everything inside will catch on fire. You should either have small windows or multi-pane windows, because large single pane windows will radiate a lot more heat.

Any trees that are close to your home should be cut down, since having this kind of vegetation near your home in a wildfire prone area is a serious risk. You should also not allow dead organic material like cut grass or dead leaves to pile up anywhere near your house. Keep these things cleared well away from the home as much as possible, but if you have neglected to do this and you have to evacuate your home because a fire is nearby, the best thing you can do is take your garden hose and soak them and the rest of the yard with water. Wetting the roof and the rest of the exterior of your home is also a good idea when a wildfire is nearby and will neutralize the threat of firebrands.

If you do choose to evacuate your home or are made to by local law enforcement, you should only take the most important things with you. Depending on how much time you are given or feel like you have, you can load up whatever valuables you need to in your vehicle, but if you are pressed for time, take money, jewelry, valuables, and etcetera.
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Jim Corkern is a writer and promoter of
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