Weekly Tip #5: Identify Your Home's Ember Vulnerabilities

April 30th, 2020

Read the original newsletter here.

Because we won't be out in the community for the next several weeks, the Tahoe Network is sending out weekly tips on how to prepare for wildfire inside your home.

This Week's Tip: Identify Your Home's Ember Vulnerabilities

Did you know embers are the leading cause of wildfire-related home ignitions?

Embers are small pieces of burning material that can travel by wind and cause spot fires. During a wildfire, embers can travel over a mile ahead of a flame front. Thousands of embers can rain down on your home, and if they come in contact with flammable materials, your home could ignite.

"Home hardening" is the process of preparing your home for wildfire embers by addressing the most vulnerable components and retrofitting them with fire-resistant building materials.

By taking 15 minutes to walk around your home, you can identify its ember vulnerabilities to prepare for and plan home hardening projects.*

*Stay tuned, next week's tip will discuss how to address ember vulnerabilities and make a home hardening project plan!

Walk Around Your Home

Start outside your home and inspect:

  • Fences, decks, exterior siding and eaves
  • Five-foot non-combustible zone (the first five feet around your home)
  • Roof, including gutters and chimneys
  • Entry points such as windows, skylights, and vents

When walking around your home, take note of combustible materials such as wood; locations where embers could enter your home; and areas where flammable debris, such as pine needles or leaf litter, could collect.

Things to look out for:


❑ Combustible fencing material within 5 feet of your home


❑ Flammable material (such as firewood) underneath, on, or next to your deck

Exterior Siding

❑ Flammable siding material such as wood boards, panels, or shingles

❑ Flammable material within the first 6 inches between the ground and the start of the siding


❑ Open or exposed eaves that could allow ember entry

Five-Foot Non-Combustible Zone

❑ Flammable landscaping such as Manzanita or wood / rubber mulches

❑ Debris such as pine needles, leaves or twigs


❑ Flammable material such as wood-shake or shingle

❑ Debris such as pine needles, leaves or twigs


❑ Debris such as pine needles, leaves or twigs


❑ Chimneys without a mesh screen or covering

Windows & Skylights

❑ Single-pane windows that could easily break from heat exposure

❑ Debris such as pine needles, leaves or twigs gathering around skylights


❑ Mesh screens larger than 1/8

❑ Gaps that could allow ember entry

Thank you for reading our weekly tip, we hope you feel more prepared for wildfire!