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Today's News and Features

Is Your Home Wildfire Safe?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

By John Voket Hopefully, this year will bring some relief from the devastating wildfires that plagued the nation, and the worry that homeowners may not be doing enough to help keep their property safe.

With an eye on protecting property and homes, the California Chaparral Institute recommends “features that reduce flammability – ember-resistant vents, fire-resistant roofing and siding, and exterior sprinklers – and focus vegetation management on the immediate 100 feet surrounding homes.”

The University of California Coop Extension is also offering a rich trove of resources on fire-resistant landscaping.

They remind homeowners to consistently remove dead leaves, branches and other flammable debris, and to make sure to keep flammable things like firewood piles and propane tanks away from their home.

The extension says fire-safe landscapes should also include hardscape materials, like granite paths of stone walls that can act as a fuel break and help to slow down or change the path of an approaching fire.

Kacie Goff at freshome.com says if you have patio furniture that you store within the first defensible space around your home, make sure it’s non-combustible. You may also want to upgrade your deck to a non-combustible material.

Gardenista.com's Barbara Peck says don’t let fire fuel like dry grass, leaves, pine needles, and other debris collect under your deck or porch, either. She also advises keeping rain gutters free of combustible debris, as well as any flat surfaces such as roofs, porches, and carports.

The website http://rainscapedesigns.com provides these additional tips to consider:
- Install metals screens on vents to keep embers out.

- Do not place fire-prone plants adjacent to any structures and preferably not within 30 feet of the house.

- See resources of the state and local Fire Safe Councils (FSC) to understand how to create defensible space on your property.

- Install a rooftop irrigation system to water down roof tops. They can be very effective when irrigation is set on a timer with a pump (solar fed) to run off a dedicated rain tank, pool or pond.

- Install rain gardens and rain tanks to capture roof runoff. This will help saturated soils and provide extra moisture to develop healthy soils that act like a sponge to retain water in the landscape or in storage tanks.

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