Wildfires can be the most damaging threat to owning your own land or home. Smoky the Bear’s been saying it for years: “Only you can prevent wildfires.” While we know of ways to help prevent natural disasters, it’s up to each individual land owner to protect their own property from damage. Check out LandCentral’s Wildfire Prevention: 5 Tips to Protect Your Land:
#1: Clear away burn-ready debris
In case a wildfire takes aim at your property, don’t give it more fuel by leaving dead leaves or twigs lying about. Do regular sweeps, especially during fire season, for dry materials (leaves, pine needles, fallen branches) that could easily go up in smoke should the winds shift your way.
#2: Create a ‘fuel break’
A ‘fuel break’ creates a barrier between the fire and your property. This can be anything that doesn’t easily burn, such as a driveway, rocks, or gravel. If you have a large wooded property that you’re worried may go up in flames, consider putting in a gravel pathway around the perimeter. Similar to a mote around a castle, this will stop flames in their track.
#3: Plant pine trees
Did you know pine trees are fire resistant? Yep, it’s true. Try planting some on your property to help keep wildfires at bay.
#4: Conduct a controlled fire
You’ve heard the old saying, “sometimes you have to fight fire with fire.” Firefighters often start their own controlled fire to stop an out-of-control wildfire. If you have a lot of old debris on your lot that would serve as kindling to Mother Nature’s angry wrath, ask the your local fire department to conduct a controlled fire on your property. They often host live trainings and would jump at the chance to protect a lot from a future fire.
#5: Trim your trees
This should go without saying, but if you don’t want your land to be offered up to the fire gods, don’t let your trees get too overgrown. To keep your trees healthy and fire free, give them regular haircuts.
Already built your home? There are ways to protect your house too!
BONUS TIPS TO KEEP YOUR HOUSE FROM CATCHING FIRE
- Keep your roof clear of debris – Throughout the year, make sure to clean out your gutters and remove any branches or moss that may have accumulated on your roof. This will keep wind-blown embers from catching your home ablaze. If you use a gutter cover, make sure it’s noncombustible.
- Use fire-proof material around your home – Build or replace structures with fire-resistant materials. Try a metal roof as opposed to wood shingles. If you have a wooden deck, make sure the wood is treated with fire-resistant sealant.
- Remove possible fuel from around the home – Pick up dead tree limbs, leaves, old shrubs, or anything else that can easily catch fire. Look around the yard and look for any plant material that isn’t necessary or that would likely go up in smoke at the first sign of a spark.
- Don’t start burn piles near the home – Often times those living on rural land will start burn piles to rid themselves of unwanted yard debris. If you do, keep your home safe from unwanted embers by placing your burn pile at least 200 feet away from any flammable structure.
- Maintain defensible space – Planting fire catching shrubs right along your house siding is just asking for a fire to happen. In the 5-30 feet around your home, use non-combustible materials like red rock, gravel, brick or concrete. If you do want plants to add some life to the space, use potted plants on your concrete surroundings to ensure they won’t spread if they catch fire.
- Keep access to your property cleared – In case your home does catch fire, make sure it can be saved quickly by keeping the roads in and out of your property cleared. Nothing’s worse than a fire truck trying to save the day only to be thwarted by obstacles leading in to your yard.
- Know your resources – Identify where your water sources are and how you would use them in case of a fire. Keep a long enough hose nearby and know where your nearest fire hydrant is. Don’t forget to have fire extinguishers within reach just in case. Because fire is an unpredictable advisory, you’d rather be that crazy over prepared land owner than the guy who has to watch their dream home go up in smoke.
Don’t forget to have an escape plan should things go wrong. Remember, protecting your land and home from wildfire is all about prevention. Good thing LandCentral’s got you covered with our Wildfire Prevention: 5 Tips to Protect Your Land.