It may seem early for fire season, but wildfires are already cropping up all over California. On June 8th, a wildfire in Yolo country spread to over 2,200 acres in just 24 hours. One day later, another fire broke out in Southern California burning over 50 acres in two hours and shutting down amusement parks in Valencia.
Wildfires are quickly becoming the new normal for California. It's essential that you prepare your property in the event that a fire occurs near you. Take these five steps to create a defensible space around your home.
Once you crate your defensible space, make sure you verify your home is adequately insured for wildfires. If you have questions about your coverage, we are happy to help you.
- Remove all sources of fuel within 100 feet. This includes dead vegetation, dry leaves, pine needles, wood piles, and flammable plants. It's especially important to keep areas against the house and beneath porches clear of fuel. Make sure the grass is a maximum height of 4 inches. Prune trees so branches are at least 6 feet from the ground.
- Create separation between living trees and shrubs. Make sure all tree branches are at least 10 feet away from your house. Make sure there are at least two times the width of each bush separating small plants and 10 feet between trees. If you have shrubs planted beneath trees, make sure there is three times the height of the shrub before the first tree branch.
- Install Fire Resistant Landscaping – Rock, mulch, and gardens are all excellent ground cover and fire breaks. High moisture plants without sap such as rockrose, ice plants, and aloe are best for fire resistance. Hardwood trees like maple and cherry are less flammable than pine or fir.
- Protect Your House – Keep your gutters and roof clear of debris. Store flammable liquids in fire safety containers. Do not connect wood fencing directly to your house. Water the area around your home as much as possible. If your roof is flammable, treat it with fire retardant or install rooftop sprinklers. Cover exterior vent openings with 1/8-inch hardware cloth to prevent embers from blowing into your house.
- Get your neighbors involved. Your defensible space is everything within 200 feet from your home. In many neighborhoods, this includes your neighbors' houses and yards, meaning their defensible space is yours as well. Wildfires don't conform to property lines so your preparations shouldn't either. Educate your neighbors and ask them if you can help establish their defensible space to increase the security of your neighborhood.