Wildfires are becoming more commonplace in California due to the increasing effects of climate change on the environment. Protecting your home from the elements is an important step for any homeowner. With this California wildfire home protection guide, you can prepare your home as best as possible.
There are several ways to ensure your home is as protected from natural disasters as possible, including completing a risk assessment, ensuring that defensible products are kept a safe distance from the home, the materials and assembly used while building or repairing the home are high-quality and fire-safe, and ensuring you have an adequate action plan in the event of a California wildfire affecting your home.
The Importance of California Wildfire Home Protection
In 2017 alone, there have been over 8,000 wildfires in California burning over 1 million acres. The threat of wildfire is extremely high, especially during the dry season. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to be prepared in case of an emergency. One way to ensure your prepared is with these California wildfire home protection strategies.
Designing your home in order to delay ignition from a wildfire is an important investment for any homeowner. Building your home from the ground up gives you the many benefits of being able to choose your materials as fire-resistant at all levels, thus safeguarding the home more thoroughly from wildfires.
If you are buying a standing home, you can still take actions to prevent your home from catching fire quickly in the event of a wildfire.
Here are four California wildfire home protection tips to keep in mind when preparing and protecting your home from wildfire.
Using High-Quality Fire-Safe Materials While Building or Repairing the Home
The first California wildfire home protection tip is to ensure your roof is made of fire-safe materials. Roofs are the most susceptible to wildfire damage, and must be protected. Building materials for roofs fall into four different categories: class A, class B, class C, or unrated.
Class A are the highest-quality materials to prevent damage to your home from wildfires or other natural disasters. In order to be considered a Class A roof, the material must resist 15 cycles of a gas flame turned on and off, last 2-4 hours before ignition, experience a maximum flame spread of 6 feet, and withstand a burning brand of 12”x12” and weighing 2000 grams.
Some building codes may require you to have a Class A roof, especially if you live in a wildfire prone area. Materials used to achieve Class A quality can include asphalt fiberglass composition shingles, clay tiles, and concrete tiles.
Alternatively, the roof can be deemed Class A by assembly, meaning that the roof covering and roof sheathing must have additional materials between them, like aluminum, recycled plastic and rubber products, and fire-retardant wood shake products.
By choosing roofing Class A roofing contractors and materials for your home, you can better protect your home from California wildfires.
Create Defensible Space
Performing a risk assessment on your home is an important part of determining the viability of its protection against wildfires and other natural disasters.
There are many ways in which to design your living space in order to protect your home from wildfires, including placing concentric rings of fuel reduction around the property, ensuring defensible spaces stretch out at least 30 yards from the house, and storing firewood away from the house so as not to stoke any approaching flames.
Combustible debris should be cleared from your home often, such as dry grass and brush, as they can prove incendiary to approaching wildfires.
As well, if you have a wooden deck in your yard or a wooden fence surrounding your property, those items act as kindling for fires. They can be fire-treated in order to provide a delay to ignition and spreading the fire towards your home.
If you are building your deck and fence from the ground up, it is best to choose non-wooden materials such as concrete or metal, or to choose wood with a metal core in order to prevent flammability. Deck protection throughout the year can help ensure your deck is in top-shape and can help protect your home.
By being mindful and fire-conscious throughout the year, you can be more successful with your California wildfire home protection and preparation.
Designing Your Property With Wildfires in Mind
Picking the location of your home to prevent against California wildfires is arguably the most important step to building a fire-safe home. If you are building your home from the start, then choosing a location that is not surrounded by a large forest or isolated from emergency service locations is important. If your home is inside a covering of trees, having a standing water source nearby can provide quick access to combating the flames.
In a California wildfire, home protection should be an important factor when designing your home. Therfore, window treatments, ventilation systems, and home exterior materials prove essential to combating wildfires. In order to properly prepare your home to defend against a wildfire, you must safeguard every step of the building process and include fire-resistant materials and techniques where possible.
Choosing the correct window treatment to delay fire damage to your home is essential. Picking double glazing with tempered glass on the outside is the safest glass to protect against radiant heat from wildfires, which can shatter single glazing quickly.
For ventilation systems, plastic is the most commonly used material for pipes and vents, but it is highly combustible and can melt quickly. In order to safeguard your ventilation system from a wildfire, covering plastic exits from the ventilation system in metal can help to reduce the damage.
As well, home exteriors can catch fire and provide extra fuel to the spreading wildfire. Choosing a material such as stucco, concrete block, or metal siding can block the fire from spreading so quickly to the rest of your home. An extra layer of protection is choosing metal core doors on the exterior of your home in order to prevent more damage from the fire.
One of the most important California wildfire home protection tips is to be prepared in case of an emergency. Your safety comes first. In the event of wildfire affecting your home, it’s key to have an emergency plan in order to minimize the severity of the damage. If it is safe to combat the fire on your own before emergency services are able to respond, you will need a few basic items on hand. A ladder long enough to reach the roof, a shovel, a rake, and a bucket are essential to combating fires. You will also need to ensure your driveway is at least 16 feet wide for fire trucks and emergency vehicles to approach the premises safely. The closer to the home they can get, the better the chance of protection against the wildfire your home has. As well, you must be prepared to evacuate the area on short notice. Do not attempt to enter the affected area in order to stay safe.
Overall, there are many California wildfire home protection tips to safeguard your home against a wildfire to the best of your ability. In choosing the correct materials to combat flammability to preparing your property with emergency preparedness and fire spreading capability in mind, you are well on your way to protecting your home as effectively as possible.