Tips — Homes Can Survive Wildfires
Wildland fire is a natural process, and is necessary for the survival of many plants and animals. But no one wants to see homes lost to fire. If you live near wildlands or have recently experienced extremely dry conditions, your home may be at risk. Unfortunately, once a wildfire starts, firefighters may not have the time or resources to protect every home in its path. However, you can take action to protect your home before a fire starts.
NFPA’s Firewise Communities team recommends you improve your “home ignition zone”—the house and surrounding area within 100 to 200 feet. Following are steps you can take to reduce a home’s vulnerability:
- Use non-combustible construction materials, such as stucco, brick, and cement siding.
- Consider using Class-A asphalt roof shingles, clay tile, or slate roofing materials.
- Prune all trees so the lowest limbs are six to 10 feet from the ground and remove dead or overhanging branches.
- Within five feet of the home, use nonflammable landscaping materials, such as rock, pavers, annuals, and high-moisture-content perennials.
- Select low-growing plants with high moisture content that are free of resins, oils, or waxes that burn easily.
- Remove leaves and pine needles from gutters and around your home and attachments, such as decks and fences.
- Allow 30 feet between tops of trees to reduce the risk of crown fire.
Detailed landscape techniques and building construction choices are online at www.firewise.org. Contact your fire department or Colorado state forestry office for specific local fire information. Contact a landscape specialist for low-flammability plants for your area.