Most likely if you watch the evening news or log into any social media platform you have heard about the Sand fire outside of Los Angeles. Horrible, uncontrollable rage of flames spreading far and wide. As of my writing this, 18 structures have been destroyed, countless acres burned, property loss has been extensive, thank God there has been no loss of life.
Last year our west coast offices in Washington were damaged by wildfires that were consuming towns in the Northwest. Luckily we were able to rebuild, but many residents lost their homes, their possessions, their treasures that are irreplaceable.
Conditions this summer are ripe for wildfire, no matter where you live. In New York, you can smell the scent of pop-up brush fires that are occurring in local forests and farmer’s fields right outside the front door of your house.
Since the National Weather Service is predicting that this drought could last until late October, I thought it might be an optimal time to give you some tips on how to prevent becoming a statistic when wildfires are predicted and immanent:
1. Make sure firefighters can find and access your home. In rural areas specifically, a house number should be visible from the road.
2. Walk your property. Look at the trees. If the trees are predominantly evergreens, which are highly flammable, a ten-foot minimum space between the crowns (branches of adjacent trees) should be maintained. This keeps fire from jumping through the crowns. Also make sure you maintain this distance from tree to house. You may need to remove a few trees.
3. Look at the vertical arrangement of the vegetation. Is there continuous fuel (grass, leaves, branches) reaching from the ground to the crowns of the trees? This is called ladder fuel because it provides a "ladder" for fire to climb from the ground to the crown. Eliminate this ladder fuel by mowing tall grass, trimming shrubs and pruning the lower branches off trees up six to ten feet.
4. Landscaping: Mulch and wood-chips should never be arranged adjacent to the foundation of your house. Rocks and stones should line the perimeter of your home.
5. Every spring and fall clean the beds and surrounding of your home and property completely. Remove dead branches, leaves, needles, firewood.
6. Eaves and vent openings are a perfect place for embers to fly into and start a home ablaze from the interior. Making sure they are properly screened and maintained may seem like a little detail, but it is often the first place embers can enter a house in a wildfire. Even keeping gutters clean can help protect your home’s vulnerable eaves.
7. Keep firewood AWAY from your home. Stack it at least 50 feet away from the house.
8. Keep your lawn short, well raked of thatch and moist.
For more tips on how to keep your home and property safe from wildfire visit: http://bit.ly/2avXoG6