Keeping the Flames at Bay: Protecting Your Home from Forest Fires
Fri, Jul 6th, 2012
The forest is full of life, and dwelling close to one means you have the privilege of living among all kinds of animals, plants, and trees-not to mention the chance to savor a degree of peace and quiet not available to those who set up house in the city. Living near a forest also has its hazards, however, and chief among them is the potential for a forest fire.
Hot summer temperatures and increased outdoor recreation can conspire to make forest fires more likely. Fortunately, certain steps can help to protect your home from a forest fire. If you live in a vulnerable spot, make sure to do the following:
- Remove all dead or dying vegetation, including trees, which can serve as the perfect fuel for an encroaching forest fire.
- Trim tree branches so they are kept a safe distance from your home's roof and chimney.
- When planting trees, space them at least ten feet apart from one another; the distance between them can prevent a fire from spreading as quickly.
- If you have a lawn, keep it mowed and promptly get rid of any cuttings.
- Regularly prune your trees and shrubs to ensure that all branches are at least six feet from the ground and all shrubs beneath trees are less than 18 inches tall.
- If your landscaping includes wooden fencing, do not connect the fence directly to your home, as it will serve as a conduit for a fire.
- Clear away any vegetation around fire hydrants and cisterns.
When Building or Remodeling, Think Non-Flammable!
- Use treated wood, which is fire resistant, to box in your home's eaves, soffits, subfloors, and fascias.
- Cover your home's vent or eave openings with non-combustible screening.
- Use fire-resistant materials, such as treated wood, stucco, stone, or brick-to enclose the undersides of your home's decks.
- Use fire-resistant materials to cover your home's exterior walls. Because it can melt, vinyl siding is not ideal.
- Fit all your home's exterior windows with double-paneled or tempered glass.
- Install chimney screens or spark arresters.
Make it Easier for the Fire Department to Help
- Make sure your home's address sign is readily visible from the street or road.
- Ensure that your driveway is wide enough to accommodate fire trucks and equipment.
- Provide an outdoor water supply complete with a hose, nozzle, and pump.
- Post signs indicating load limits on any bridges leading toward your home.
Keep in mind that, in many rural areas, there are fire protection limitations: the fire department may be volunteer, and their response time may be on the long side; they may have fewer water supplies and firefighting equipment at their disposal than a big-city fire department would; moreover, your home may be in a hard-to-reach locale. For these reasons and others, it is important to take proactive steps to keep the flames of a forest fire at bay, and do all that you can to protect your home as well as the people who share it.
For more information about fire coverage and protection, contact Town & Country Insurance today.
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