Home Safety and Wildfires

Many arid regions throughout the United States are susceptible to seasonal wildfire zones. In recent years, wildfires have devastated communities in many western states, particularly California. Some people wonder why anyone buys a home in a wildfire zone. Of course, flooding, tornadoes, and earthquakes, like wildfires, happen all over the United States. Homeowners and those considering investing in real estate would be wise to consider the risks of buying property in a wildfire zone.

Preparation is key if you live in a wildfire zone. You can take precautions with your property before the dry season begins. Reduce ignition hazards around your home. This means clearing brush and old trees from property perimeters. It also means creating a defensible zone free of organic materials for fuel in a large circle around any structures on your property. Also ensure that all access roads are suitable for emergency equipment to make it safely and quickly to your rescue.

If a wildfire threatens your home, it is best to evacuate. Shut off the gas main to your home. You should have already cleared the area outside of your home and made arrangements for any animals or livestock on your property. If there is time you can fill any containers, tubs, and buckets with water. Leave doors unlocked so that emergency personnel can come in to fight a fire.

It is possible to create natural firebreaks and wildfire-defensible zones. Contact your fire department or forestry service to discuss local plans and resources. Also consider evacuation routes for you and your family. Practice what to do if wildfires threaten your home. Your lender may be covered from losses due to wildfires through mortgage insurance. You would be well advised to check your own insurance coverage and any exclusions related to wildfires.