Research shows that both homes and their immediate surroundings play a critical role in a home surviving a wildfire. Your home’s building materials, design and landscape choices can increase risks of your home igniting during a wildfire. If a wildfire burns near your home, its intensity can be reduced or even stopped if “fuel” on your property is managed.
To prepare your home and the area around your home, start with the house and then move into the landscaping. The “home ignition zone” is your home and surroundings out 100-200 feet. Often, a person’s home ignition zone overlaps with their neighbor’s property. In those cases, it’s important to work together to reduce the shared wildfire risk.
Consider these wildfire risk reduction home and landscape guidelines to reduce or change the fuels in your home ignition zone.
The Home and Its Building Materials
- Routinely remove leaf litter and pine needles from your roof and rain gutters. Remove all tree limbs within 10 feet of the roof. Construct roofs and gutters out of fire-resistant materials.
- Use fire-resistant building materials for the exterior walls and seal any gaps or crevices.
- Ensure your chimney has a spark arrestor installed.
- Use heavy timber or noncombustible construction material for decks. Enclose the underside to prevent leaf debris from blowing underneath. If decks are not enclosed, continuously remove any debris that collects. Never store flammable materials underneath elevated decks or porches.
- Cover all vents with 1/8” metal mesh screening.
- Remove all flammable plants, debris and materials within the first 3-5 feet around all buildings.
- Remove dead vegetation, dried leaves and pine needles frequently from the home ignition zone.
- Keep lawns green and mowed.
- Remove lower branches of evergreen trees up and away from the ground.
- Limit the number of evergreens within 30 feet of your home.
- Favor deciduous trees over evergreens in your home ignition zone.
- Store firewood at least 30 feet from structures.
To learn more about ways to protect your home and property from wildfires, visit the DNR’s Preparing Your Property webpage.