How to Build a Defensible Space to Protect Against Wildfires

There are steps that can be taken to protect your home and family from a Wildfire. Creating a defensible-space will allow a safe area for firefighters to be able to beat back the fire if it comes too close. This space should be from 70 to 75 feet around the home. A larger area should be created if your home is located on a slope.

Other measures to take is to thin the pine trees on your property to 10 to 12 feet between the crowns of the trees. This will help to prevent the fire from jumping from tree top to tree top. Prune their branches to a height of 10 feet above the ground. Thin continuous trees and brush from around all structures. Small shrubs and trees known as ladder fuel, should be removed from under the tall trees. This will present the fire from climbing the small tree and in the process and igniting the taller trees.

The State Forest Service recommends the removal of flammable vegetation with 15 feet of a home's walls. Keep grasses and weeds moved to 6 inches or less creating a defensive zone of 30 feet from all structures. Clean your gutters at least twice a year removing pine needles which are very flammable.

While there are some things that are out of your control you should still be aware of ways your home can be turned into a non-combustible residence. A house constructed of brick, adobe, concrete, stone, tile etc is less likely to burn. Windows can still be blown out by the fierce heat of a Wildfire and the inside of your home will be gutted.

The next time you have your roof shingled consider installing a tile, clay tile, concrete or slate shingles. These types of shingles are made of thick noncombustible material. Now days they can be made to look like wood shingles but are not combustible. They are rated a Class A and provide the best protection against a fire.

No matter how much time you have to evacuate you will not be able to take all of your memories with you. Memories are made of so many different things – the crib you bought for your first born, the curtains your wife made by hand, your special work shop in the garage. By making your house easier for the fire fighters to protect you increase your chances that your home will still be standing after the Wildfire has been extinguished. A little effort now will be worth the final results.