Brushfire Preparedness from Coast to Coast

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The risk of brushfires extends from coast to coast, and as we move into the warmer months of the year and storm season, it’s important to start preparing your home now to reduce the risk of brushfires damaging your home.

1. Create a fire break: Clear debris from around your home

One of the first and most important things you can do to reduce the risk of damage that a brushfire can do to your home is to create a “fire break” of at least 10 feet around your home. It is recommended that you have no vegetation within five feet of any structures.

According to fire officials, this is called “having defensible land,” which can make it easier to stop a fire before it can affect your home.

This barrier of 10 feet or greater with no brush means a fire will reach a point of having no fuel for at least 10 feet before your property. This also gives firefighters “defensible land” where they can make a stand to extinguish the flames.

2. Clear overgrowth and trim trees

Make sure to cut back trees, bushes, and plants around your property. Remove any dead vegetation. Trim the lower branches from tall trees. A good rule for tree branches is to trim them back to leave a space of 10 feet between other trees. Cut back any tree branches that hang over your roof. Keep tree branches at least 10 feet away from your chimney.

3. Yard cleanup

Items around your yard can also serve as fuel for a fire that can easily be sparked by falling members. Make sure to store firewood and/or any lumbar at least 30 feet away from your house. Keep all of your outdoor spaces clear from dried leaves and twigs and it’s important to do this throughout fire season.

4. Clear your roof and gutters of debris

The best way to stop smoking embers that could fall from the sky from turning pine needles, and dry, dead leaves on your roof and/or in your gutters into kindling to ignite a fire is to keep these areas clear and clean from spring into late fall.

5. Other considerations

Keep any easily combustible materials at least 5 feet away from your home.

If you have a sprinkler system in your yard, make sure it’s working. Remove items and vegetation that could catch fire around and under wooden decks and porches. Remove and/or replace any combustible outdoor furniture. Replace combustible doormats with fire-resistant materials.

6. For fire safety more tips…

Find more fire safety tips from the Red Cross and visit FEMA for free fire safety prevention downloads.