How can you protect your home against wildfires?


  • There are steps you can take to reduce the risk of your home being engulfed by wildfire.

  • The National Interagency Fire Center, United States Forest Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) all have several tips to keep your family and your property safer in the event of a wildfire.

  • Keep flammable objects or other fuel sources at least 30 feet from the perimeter of your home.

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — If you are in an area prone to wildfires, you may wonder what you can do to protect your home from them.

Luckily, there are things you could do to reduce the overall fire risk for your home. The National Interagency Fire Center, United States Forest Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) all have several tips to keep your family and your property safer in the event of a wildfire.

Create a 30-foot “defensible” space around your home

Keep flammable objects or other fuel sources at least 30 feet from the perimeter of your home. This includes wood stockpiles, dried leaves, shrubs, tall grasses and propane tanks. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) also recommends that you remove other fuel sources from underneath decks or porches that could catch fire.

The U.S. Forest Service recommends moving flammable objects such as lawnmowers, outdoor furniture or toys at least 30 feet away from your house during wildfire activity.

You can find a detailed breakdown of the Home Ignition Zone on the NFPA website.

(Courtesy the National Interagency Fire Center)
(Courtesy National Interagency Fire Center)

Prepare the outside of your home

  • Clear your gutters of leaves, pine needles or any other flammable debris.
  • Trim tree branches or overhanging limbs that are within 10 feet of a stove or chimney flue opening.
  • Remove tree branches to a height of 15 feet.
  • Connect garden hoses long enough to reach any part of your house. FEMA also recommends buying an external sprinkler system with its own water and power source or filling garbage cans with water when there is wildfire activity nearby.
  • Keep your lawn watered and mowed; remove cut grass as it can act as a fuel source.
  • Have clear and visible street and house address signage to help responders find your home in case of an emergency.

Home improvement ideas for fire safety

If you want to take fire safety one step further, there are a few home improvement projects you can do to further protect your home:

  • Install metal mesh in front of flue openings or under decks and porches to keep out embers.
  • Replace your roof or siding with fire-resistant materials such as tile, slate, metal or any Class A-rated material. Alternatively, the National Interagency Fire Center recommends treating wooden siding or roofing with fire-retardant chemicals.

Lastly, FEMA suggests reviewing your insurance coverage and creating an itemized list of your belongings in case of fire to help you when filing an insurance claim.


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