Living in Southern California, we are acutely aware of fire season. Each year, wildfires erupt throughout the state because of high temperatures and low humidity. Many wildfires have already broken out this year, and the National Weather Service believes that this wildfire season may be extremely busy considering how early the season started this year.
Whether you’ve already taken steps to protect your home or there is more you could be doing, I wanted to share some tips on hardening your home for fire season. First, remember that your home doesn’t need to be located in a fire danger zone to be in harm’s way, simply because blowing embers can be carried great distances by the wind. And they are one of the most serious risks.
Consider these precautionary measures that you can take right now to ensure your home stays safe!
Is Your Roof Fire Safe?
Your roof is one of the most vulnerable parts of your home during a wildfire. Remember: blowing embers? The type of roof that you choose for your home can make a huge difference when it comes to a fire. Class A materials like composite, steel, or tile are much better choices than shingle or wood roofs. While replacing your roof is costly, this switch could save your home during a fire.
Review Your Landscaping
Landscaping is a great way to bring visual appeal to the exterior of your home. But during fire season, it can quickly fuel a fire outbreak. Ideally, it would help if you didn’t have any vegetation within five feet of your home. Take a walk around and plan to cut back any plants or vegetation that is too close to your property. You might also consult with a gardener about plants with higher moisture content, which can help.
Inspect Your Vents & Chimney
Back to the blowing ember situation for a moment. You will absolutely want to ensure that any open vents and your chimney are covered and closed to the outside elements. The last thing you want is blowing embers getting into your home if a wildfire breaks out nearby. Make sure you inspect your rain gutters and downspouts too. Leaves can get trapped inside both of them, and dried-out leaves near your home are more kindling during a fire.
Keep Up with Home Maintenance
Maintaining your home is an essential part of homeownership, and it can also help save your home in the event of a fire. Preventative maintenance projects like cleaning your rain gutters regularly, removing dead plants from your property, and trimming trees and vegetation near your home can have a considerable impact. Perhaps most importantly, you should always make sure that you have at least one working fire extinguisher inside your home (two if you have a detached garage or other space). Set a calendar reminder to check them twice per year to make sure they haven’t expired, and replace them if you need to.
Can You See Your Address From the Street?
One mistake that many homeowners make is not having their address visible from the street. Consider this: a fire breaks out, and you call 911. Can emergency personnel actually locate your residence? You’ll want to make sure they can reach you as quickly as possible, so make sure your address is clearly visible from the street and well-lit at night.
Make sure that you are always aware of potential fire danger in your area, and heed warnings and evacuation orders from local officials. This is not the time to be a hero. Remember, your home and possessions are replaceable, but your life is not.
I’m a local real estate professional who has decades of experience in the Pasadena area. I am available to assist you in buying or selling a home, so please contact me if you would like to schedule a time to discuss your needs. Please stay healthy and safe!