What can I do to help protect my home?
There are several actions you can take that will increase the chances of your home surviving a wildfire. Some actions, such as replacing a wood shake roof, can be costly while others, such as removing dead leaves from your gutter will cost little more than an hour or two of your time. Below is checklist of actions you can take:
1. Make your property accessible to firefighters
- Prominently display your address so emergency responders can easily locate you. The address lettering should be at least 4 inches tall on a contrasting background.
- If your driveway is long or narrow clear an area 15’ on either side to serve as a protective firebreak. This firebreak will limit the risk of firefighters trying to reach your home and will help ensure a safe escape route from your property. Your driveway should be wide enough to accommodate an evacuating car and an entering fire truck at the same time.
2. Keep your property “lean, clean and green”
- Keep gutters, roofs, & decks free of dead leaves & needles
- Remove any tree limbs overhanging your roof.
- Keep wood piles at least 30’ away from your home during fire season.
- Establish and maintain a protective defensible spacea minimum of 30’ around your home. If your home is located on steep terrain, or surrounded by dense vegetation, provide even more clearance.
- Maintain a green lawn and use fire-resistant plants around your home. Landscaping with the right materials can provide an attractive, fire resistant barrier. To learn which plants are suitable for your area refer to the guide: Fire Resistant Plants for Oregon Home Landscapes or check with your local nursery.
- Dispose of debris safely and be observant of burn bans.
3. Make your home as fire-resistant as possible
- Whenever feasible, wood shake roofs should be replaced with non-flammable roofing material.
- If possible, replace old single-pane windows with more efficient, heat resistant tempered glass.
- Screen vents and areas under decks with 1/8” metal mesh to prevent burning embers from entering.
- If a wildfire approaches or if you will be away from home during wildfire season be sure to remove flammable door mats, lawn furniture and other easily ignitable materials on decks or next to your home.
- When building new, consider using heavy, fire-resistant timbers or other materials such as concrete, brick or rammed earth.
- Don’t site your new dream home in a precarious location! Homes located on steep slopes, ridge tops, saddles or other natural chimneys may provide attractive views but these areas are especially vulnerable wildfire.