Protect homes from embers
By Karen Herreros
The words “new normal” have been used so many times to describe California’s current experience with catastrophic wildfires that it can’t be new anymore. By the same token, I feel like what we tell you every month is also not new, but does need to be constantly reinforced. One of the big items is to protect your home from embers. Residents have lost their homes to wildfire despite having a defensible space. Be aware of the risk of embers. Embers can travel great distances with wind or turbulence caused by the fire itself. These embers can ignite brush or homes which are not even near the main part of the fire.
Roofs: Replace wooden roofs and openings in roof coverings, such as the end of barrel tiles; remove debris such as leaves, pine needles, etc. from your roof and rain gutters.
Vents: Cover attic/eaves/foundation vents with 1/8-inch wire mesh.
Windows and skylights: Replace single pane non-tempered glass with double pane tempered glass. In case of fire, close all windows and doors.
Fireplaces: Install an approved spark arrester on chimneys and make sure wood piles are at least 30 feet from your home.
Decks: Make sure there is metal flashing between a wood deck and the house, and the deck and under the deck are clear of debris. Remove patio furniture, door mats, BBQ propane tanks, etc. and place in your house or garage if a fire is threatening.
Flowerbeds and boxes: Remove wood flower boxes from beneath windows if a fire is threatening. Flower beds should not have wood mulch or dead plants, leaves, etc.
Vehicles: Close all windows and back your car into the garage or leave it away from the house and make sure the garage door fits as tightly as possible to the door frame to minimize gaps. Make sure you can open your automatic garage door manually if you lose electricity in case you need to evacuate.
Fences and trash cans: Make sure all wood is in good condition and use non-combustible material next to your house. Use metal trash cans with tight fitting lids.