With a record number of wildfires, acres burned, and homes destroyed in recent years, here are some proactive steps you can take to keep your family and home safe:

  • Evacuate promptly if ordered to by local authorities, and create a pre-established emergency evacuation plan for your family and pets.
  • If a wildfire is approaching, clear driveways to accommodate large fire equipment. Make sure no flammable vegetation is within 10 feet on both sides of the driveway, and there are no overhanging obstructions within 15 feet. If your property is gated, prop the gate open to allow fire personnel to access your property.
  • Create a defensible space around your home to create a fire break. Remove all dead plants, grass, weeds, dry leaves, and pine needles from your property, roof, and gutters.
  • Remove or prune flammable plants and shrub near windows. Thin and separate shrubs by a distance of at least twice their height.
  • Move any wood piles at least 30 feet from your house.
  • Create a separation between trees, shrubs, and items that could catch fire such as patio furniture.
  • Maintain adequately watered ground at least 100 feet from the house if the ground is level and 200 feet from the house if the ground is sloped. Keep grass cut down to a maximum of 4 inches high.
  • Clear a 10-foot area around propane or oil tanks and around your barbeque area.
  • Install fire-resistant window treatments, smoke detectors, and fire extinguishers throughout your home.
  • Keep fire-fighting tools handy such as a ladder, shovel, rake, axe, or water bucket, and a hose that is long enough to reach your home and other structures.
  • Install a buck-up generator in case electrical power is shut off. 
  • Make sure your house address is visible from the street.

In the event of an approaching wildfire, leave early enough to avoid being caught in fire, smoke, or road congestion. Don’t wait to be told be authorities to leave. In an intense wildfire, firefighters may not have time to knock on every door. If you are advised to leave, don’t hesitate! 

Preparation is key. Consider storing your valuable papers, irreplaceable photos, and expensive jewelry in a fireproof strongbox that you can ‘grab and go’ at a moment’s notice. It is also advisable to invest in a home inventory software program that can be stored in the Cloud. 

First and foremost, make sure you and your family stay safe. Everything else can be replaced.