It’s springtime! A time that people associate with rain showers, flowers, warmer weather, and more sunshine. It’s also a dangerous time for wildfires in many areas of the United States. I live in a wooded area of northern Michigan and am very aware of the dangers of wildfires. One wildfire years ago found us spraying our home with hoses to keep it safe from fire. Since then, we have followed these 5 tips to protect our home during the spring fire season. All homeowners should take a proactive approach against the dangers of wildfires, especially during the spring fire season.
Tip #1 – Protect Your Home From Wildfires: Cleared Space Around Home
Check out your landscaping. Keep a 30 foot wide cleared space around your home and outbuildings. Cut vegetation in this space. Trim trees – branches should be removed up to a height of 6 to 10 feet. Keep your lawn mowed short and well-watered. Remove anything that could easily catch fire during a wildfire like dead wood, dead grass, and building materials. Maintain a 3-foot wide area of sand or gravel around all buildings on your property.
Tip #2 – Protect Your Home From Wildfires: Use Fire-Retardant Building Materials
Roof materials can help protect your home from wildfires. Use metal roofing or fiberglass shingles. Finish the exterior of your home with heat- and flame-resistant siding materials. This will keep the home from quickly igniting from debris falling on it during a wildfire.
Tip #3 – Protect Your Home From Wildfires: Keep It Clean
Keep up with maintenance on your home’s exterior. It’s such an easy tip, but one that many homeowners fail to follow. Clean roofs and gutters of any debris. Any branches, leaves, etc. that has accumulated on your roof or in the gutters makes perfect tinder for wildfires. Put spark arresters on chimneys and insulate them. Put metal screens on vents. Close in the ends of eaves.
Tip #4 – Protect Your Home From Wildfires: Be A Responsible Homeowner
Be a responsible homeowner by having address numbers of at least 5 inches high at the road and on your home. Install smoke detectors or alarms. Test them regularly and replace their batteries annually. Start a fire-watch in your neighborhood. Develop and practice a fire escape plan for your family. Set up at least two ground-floor escape exits in your home.
Tip #5 – Protect Your Home From Wildfires: Firefighting Equipment
Have working fire extinguishers in your home. Have them checked annually. Keep hoses, shovels, ladders, and buckets handy in case you need to use them in an emergency. Post the phone number for your local fire department near the phone.
Great Lakes Forest Fire Compact www.glffc.com