Vents are entry points for embers. All vent openings should be covered with 1/8-inch or smaller wire mesh, or install ember-resistant vents.
Use noncombustible exterior siding materials, such as stucco, brick, cement board and steel. Log homes with fire-rated chinking or notched logs are also good choices.
Embers accumulate in the underside of eaves. Enclose the underside of eaves with fiber cement board or 5/8-inch-thick, high-grade plywood. If enclosing eaves is not possible, fill gaps under open eaves with caulk.
Windows usually break before the structure ignites. Install windows that are at least double-glazed and that utilize tempered glass for the exterior pane. Closeable, solid exterior shutters can provide additional window protection. Keep skylights free of pine needles, leaves and other debris, and remove overhanging branches.
Chimney and stovepipe openings should be screened with a spark arrestor cap.
Embers roll off roofs and into rain gutters. Keep rain gutters free of leaves, needles and debris. Check and clean them regularly.
Consider replacing wood-shake or shingle roofs with a Class-A fire-resistant type (composition, metal or tile). Keep roof free of leaves, needles and debris.
Store firewood at least 30 feet from the house or cover with an ember-resistant firewood cover.
Keep the porch, deck and other areas of the home free of easily combustible materials (baskets, dried flower arrangements, newspapers, pine needles and debris).
Replace at least the first 5 feet of any wooden fence attached to the house with a noncombustible fence section or gate.
Keep all decks in good condition and free of pine needles, leaves, twigs and weeds. Remove debris from underneath decks.
Beyond your residential landscape, remove dead vegetation, create separation between shrubs and trees, and remove low tree branches and shrubs under trees.
Keep the residential landscape area located within the first 30 feet from the home lean, clean and green. Have only a small amount of flammable vegetation, with no accumulation of dead vegetation. Use plants that are healthy, green and irrigated during the hot, dry summer.
The first 5 feet around the base of your home should be kept free of all combustible materials, including wood mulches, dead or dry vegetation and other debris. Use irrigated herbaceous plants, rock mulches or hard surfaces.
Long driveways should have a turnaround area suitable for a 3-point turn or a cul-de-sac with at least a 45-foot radius.
20-foot wide roads and 12-foot wide driveways with a 12 percent or less steepness grade increase emergency access to a neighborhood.
Install address signs that use contrasting noncombustible material with characters at least 6 inches high.
Remove flammable vegetation for 10 feet from both sides of the driveway, and overhead to provide at least a 13 ½-foot vertical clearance.
When possible, create turnouts on long driveways to allow 2-way traffic.
Fire adapted communities have street signs posted at each intersection and are made of reflective, noncombustible material.
Post load limits on bridges and culverts leading to your home.
A second access road to improves traffic flow during an emergency.
Electronically operated driveway gates require key access for local fire departments and districts.
Emergency notification systems are used by county emergency managers to send a prepared message via text, email or telephone to people in the affected area. Most systems will allow you to enter multiple forms of contact information, such as home phone number, cell phone, work phone and email address. To register, follow the links below for your County:
Residents of a fire adapted community are prepared to safely and effectively evacuate. To prepare in advance:
A go bag should be prepared before an emergency, be easily accessible and filled with at least a three day supply of items needed to help you quickly and safely evacuate your home. Essentials include:
If you anticipate an extended evacuation at an emergency shelter or your family is returning to a home without functioning electricity and water, consider also creating a disaster supplies kit using lists from https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/survival-kit-supplies.html.
Prepare to address the special needs of vulnerable populations, including the elderly and people with medical problems or disabilities.
Prepare to address the needs of your pets if you have to evacuate.
Remember, there is nothing you own worth your life! Please evacuate immediately when asked by fire or law enforcement officials. If you are concerned, don’t wait to be asked to leave. Drive slowly, turn on your vehicle headlights and stay as far to the right side of the road as possible. Always register with official personnel when you arrive at a shelter. Print this Wildfire Evacuation Checklist and, if you have time, use it as a guide to evacuate quickly and safely.
A safe area is a designated location within a community where people can go to wait out the wildfire. Often safe areas are ball fields, golf courses, parks and parking lots.
Land managers implement fuel reduction projects around neighborhoods to reduce flammable wildland fuels and improve forest health. Tree stands are thinned, tree canopies are raised by removing lower branches, and the understory vegetation is reduced. These projects can slow an approaching fire, improve the success of fire retardant dropped from the air, and provide a safer area for firefighters to operate. They are particularly effective when integrated with the defensible space of adjacent homes.
Land Managers use prescribed fire to reduce flammable wildland fuels and improve forest health. A prescribed fire project is well planned, carefully orchestrated, and involves the disciplines of fire ecology, fire suppression, forestry and public safety.
If you were evacuated, contact your insurance agent or company to let them know how you can be reached. Keep receipts for temporary living expenses, like motel room and meals. Do not return to your home until re-entry is permitted by law enforcement officials. Do not cross a barricade or hazard tape without permission. Things to do before entering the house:
Things to do once you enter the house:
Things to do for landscape care:
The following links to additional information and resources may help you after a fire has affected your home or community.
Additional Website Resources: