PORTLAND, Ore. – July 26, 2018 – Seasonal fire is part of our landscape in the Pacific Northwest – and with fire season arriving, residents and communities can make their homes safer from wildfire by reducing flammable materials and creating more defensible space around their property.
These ten Firewise safety tips can help firefighters and protect homes and neighborhoods from wildfires:
- Clear leaves and other debris from roofs, gutters, porches and decks. This helps prevent embers from igniting near your home.
- Remove dead vegetation and other items from under your deck or porch.
- Screen in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
- Remove flammable materials (wood piles, propane tanks) within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and outbuildings, including garages and sheds.
- Wildfire can spread to tree tops. Prune trees so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
- Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to reduce fire intensity. Dry grass and shrubs are fuel for wildfire.
- Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
- Inspect shingles or roof tiles. Replace or repair the shingles that are loose or missing to prevent ember penetration.
- Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent sparks from entering the home.
- Enclose eaves and screen soffit vents using 1/8 mesh metal screening to prevent ember entry.
With more people living in areas where wildfires pose a risk, efforts to create more defensible space helps property owners and communities be more prepared and resilient. Homes that have been well-prepared are much less likely to catch fire when wildfires burn nearby.
The Firewise Communities Program encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners to prepare their homes from the risk of wildfire. The program provides resources to help homeowners learn how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together to take action now to prevent losses.
Additional information and materials are available at www.firewise.org.
USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Region staff