Protecting Your Home from Wildfires

We’ve seen so many homes lost to wildfires this year. This has been a terrible and ongoing tragedy which made me wonder if there is anything we can do to make a home less vulnerable to being burned. As it turns out, there are several steps we can take.

The United States Forest Service has a program they call “Firewise,” which provides homeowners with specific steps they can take to mitigate the risk from wildfire. Below is a summary from a U.S. Forest Service web site, and here is a link to some interesting information about garden mulch. It seems that some types of mulch are much more flammable than others. Check out the Arizona Cooperative Extension site. If you don’t have time to read the whole thing, you can skip down to the summary at the end.

USDA Forest Service
Washington, D.C.
USDA Forest Service badge

US Forest Service Urges Communities to Prepare for Wildfires

WASHINGTON – May 27, 2011 – Nine out of ten wildfires are preventable. In other words, nine out of ten wildfires are caused by people from carelessness. But homeowners and others are not powerless against wildfires. In fact, homeowners who exercise common sense tactics, such as clearing brush and debris away from structures, play a vital role in slowing the spread of fire and protecting their property.

Right now, moisture and cool temperatures in the Western United States are holding off the Western wildfire season. At the same time, the Southwestern United States is experiencing extensive wildfire activity in forestland and on private property, most notably in Texas.
“One of our jobs at the Forest Service is to keep wildfires away from homes and communities and to reduce fire severity to manageable levels,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “But individual homeowners also play a key role—they have a responsibility to make their properties as safe as possible from fires.”
The National Fire Protection Association’s Firewise Communities program teaches homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters and others about ways to protect people and property from wildfires. Firewise suggestions include:

  • Remove trees, brush and grass from around your structures
  • Clear anything flammable from within 3 feet of the base of your structures
  • Clean the roof and gutters of pine needles and other debris
  • Remove tree limbs less than 10 feet from the ground around your structures
  • Replace a shake-shingle roof with a non-flammable alternative
  • Keep your lawn clean and green

About M.J.Deare

I am a writer, actively researching topics of interest. I am also a graduate of the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, with a degree in English, and have a master's degree from the University of Memphis. Born in New Orleans, I lived there until moving to northwest Arkansas and from there to Memphis, Tennessee. My husband and I currently reside in The Woodlands, Texas.
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