Create a fire resistant home
By Karen Herreros
In the past we have talked a lot about defensible space, but let’s not forget about making your home fire resistant.
Roofs are the most vulnerable surface where embers land because they can become lodged and can start a fire. Roof valleys, open ends of barrel tiles and rain gutters are all points of entry. Block off all open spaces and regularly inspect these areas.
Embers can gather under open eaves and ignite combustible material. Enclose your eaves to prevent ember intrusion, and regularly clear away debris that collect here.
Embers can enter the attic or other concealed spaces and ignite combustible materials. Vents in eaves and cornices are particularly vulnerable, as are any unscrewed vents. Use corrosion resistant metal mesh to screen all vents and check them regularly to remove any debris.
WALLS & FENCING
Combustible siding or other combustible/overlapping materials provide surfaces or crevices for embers to nestle and ignite. Build or remodel with noncombustible or ignition-resistant materials whenever possible. Regularly clear away debris from any crevices and perform annual upkeep.
WINDOWS & DOORS
Embers can enter gaps in doors, including garage doors. Install weather proofing around your garage door, and if your garage is attached to your home, make sure the interior door is solid and on self-closing hinges. Plants or combustible storage near windows can be ignited from embers and generate heat that can break windows and/or melt combustible frames. Wherever possible, use dual-paned windows with tempered glass, as they are less likely to shatter from radiant heat.
BALCONIES & DECKS
Embers can collect in or on combustible surfaces or beneath decks and balconies, igniting the material and entering the home through walls or windows. Construct your balconies or deck with noncombustible materials and do not store combustible items underneath them. If there is a fire threat, bring any furniture into your home.
To harden your home further, consider protecting it with a residential fire sprinkler system. In addition to extinguishing a fire started by an ember that enters your home, it also can help protect you and your family year-round from any home fire.
Join us on Oct. 29 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Hoyt Park for our Wildfire Expo.