What can you do if fire is heading for your house?
Copyright 2010-2016 Ken
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is heading for your house. What do you do?
If it is a simple grass fire you can
try to defend your house with sprinklers, garden hoses and rakes until
the fire department shows up. Create a barrier of bare ground and wet
If it is a wildfire that the fire department is battling to control,
you won't be able to help. Watering your yard and roof is a waste of
time, and you will need every minute.
If you only have a few hours, load what you can into your vehicle and
get out before fire blocks the road. You don't have enough time to do
anything that will save your house, and you need that time to save your
stuff and escape before it is too late. If you wait too long you will
If you have a few days you can make your property more fire resistant.
But the best time to do this is before the fire starts.
This little interactive page covers the basics: http://firewise.org/wildfire-preparedness/teaching-tools/interactive-modules-and-quizzes/wildfire-approaching.aspx
can you make your property fire resistant?
The idea is to make it possible for
the fire department to save your house. They can tell which house can
and which can't just by looking. Keep your property defensible at all
Remember that when fire arrives, it
will be raining embers. The heat will dry everything out and melt your
hoses & sprinklers. Many types of bushes can dry out, ignite via
ember, and burn like torches. Your only defense is to get everything
that burns away from the house.
- Maintain 100 feet of defensible
space for the fire department. This means no buildup of combustible
- Keep combustibles away from the
house (ie fire wood, bushes, etc.)
- Use fire resistive plants
- Know how to shut off the
- Have a family evacuation plan
- Use a tile or composite roof
- Have a stucco sided house
- Prevent embers from entering
the attic space. Embers float around and circulate up under the eaves.
If they get in you have an attic fire.
You've seen the photos. A lone house stands unharmed in a sea of
scorch. That house had defensible space, and all the houses around
What resources are out
is an excellent resource
- Whenever you have advance
notice of a problem that could interfere with your water supply, fill
up everything that holds water while you can. Don't forget the bathtub.
- Whenever you have advance
notice of a problem that could interfere with your electricity supply,
charge up everything that can be recharged.