Protecting Yourself and Your Home From Wildfires

By Diane Griffith, Staff Writer, myOptumHealth
6/6/2011 8:19:38 AM

Hurricanes, blizzards and severe thunderstorms aren't the only weather hazards people have to deal with. In certain seasons and parts of the country, a house fire, lightning strike or even a match dropped in the woods may be all it takes to start a widespread wildfire.

By preparing in advance, though, there are ways to prevent wildfires or limit the damage. The best ways to protect your home are to have a non-flammable roof and to clear flammable brush from around your house.

Start with a safe landscape

Pine, fir, evergreen and eucalyptus trees are highly flammable, as is juniper. Some laws require you to remove flammable vegetation within 30 feet of your home. Others say that all flammable brush within 100 feet be removed. You should always keep your lawn mowed and your leaves raked, too.

Thin out the trees and bushes surrounding your home as well. The roots of trees and bushes should be planted far enough apart that they will still be separated when fully grown. Between the trees and bushes, plant low-growing, fire-retardant plants. A lawn with small flowering plants is easiest to maintain.

Fireproof your house

If you're buying or building a house, make sure it has a fire-resistant roof and building materials made of stone, brick, tile, stone or metal. Wooden exteriors should be treated with fire-retardant chemicals.

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