It is your responsibility as a homeowner to protect your property. The first step to protecting it from wildfires is to make sure there isn’t any flammable debris around your house. This means removing dry grass, firewood, debris, and brush. Wood decks and fences can be problematic, too, under certain circumstances. The way to avoid the fire hazard of fences, make sure they are about 30 feet from your house. This will greatly improve the protection from wildfires. The more clear the area around your house, the more you have a chance to protect your home.
Eaves and Vents
Embers are able to fly into vent and eaves openings. This will create the perfect environment to start a fire from the interior of the home. To avoid this, make sure you maintain and screen off your vents and eaves. Also, your gutters should be well maintained to avoid fire starting in them. Gutters are one of the first places for houses to catch fire during a wildfire.
In a house fire, roofs tend to be most vulnerable. Cedar shakes are not an option under these circumstances. The normal is Class A roofs. This includes asphalt, tile, and steel type. The same could be said for siding. If you have a wood wall or shingle roof, then you have terrible fire resistance. However, they can be treated with an exterior wood fire retardant spray like Flamex PF-2. Fiber cement and stucco are good alternatives that increase resistance. If you have an underlayment, one that is non-flammable or low flammability will drastically improve your odds.
Drapes and Windows
When it comes to your windows and drapes, intense heat is able to set drapes and furniture ablaze through windows. The recommended solution to this is to replace the fabric of the window with a product that has more resistance to heat. Getting a smaller, tempered window will decrease the chance of the window breaking. Non-flammable shutters will be your best choice to protect your home under these conditions.
Make Your Home Fire Resistant
When you are designing your home, you are presented with the ideal opportunity to make your house even more fire-ready. Use metal wall studs and type X gypsum. All wood should be pressure treated with a fire retardant solution or apply a fire retardant spray for exterior wood use to avoid leaching within the walls, ceiling and floor. Make sure emergency vehicles can easily access your property. You should avoid using complex shapes as well as bump-outs, as fire could lodge into a smaller space, creating a hotspot. While sprinklers are a good measure, someone will have to start them. That means, it is easier to have a standing source of water for effectiveness when firefighters show up.
Your home’s location can mean the difference between surviving a wildfire or burning your house to the ground. Building your home in a wooded area is just asking for some serious trouble. Having your home on a hilltop is a way to make your home a clear target for a fire that is on the move. Use an exterior fire retardant spray to treat any wood mulch around the home. Also, if you have a wood deck attached to the home, it should also be treated with an exterior fire retardant to prevent combustion from flying embers.
Often times, when people are designing their homes, they do not take fire hazards into consideration. It is simple to take steps to protect your property, you just have to be aware of hazards and remedy them when you can.