Every year, wildfires burn across the U.S., and more and more people are living where wildfires are a real risk. Virginia’s leading cause of wildfire is escaped debris burning. By working together, residents can make their own property — and their neighborhood — much safer from wildfire.
Here are five actionable steps you can take to improve your home’s survivability from a wildfire:
- REMOVE leaves, pine needles, and other flammable material from the roof, gutters, and on and under the deck to help prevent embers from igniting your home.
- SCREEN areas below decks and porches with 1/8” wire mesh to help prevent material from accumulating underneath.
- COVER exterior attic and soffit vents with 1/8” wire mesh to help prevent sparks from entering your home.
- ENCLOSE eaves to help prevent ember entry.
- INSPECT shingles or roof tiles. REPLACE missing shingles or tiles. COVER ends of tiles with bird stops or cement to help prevent ember penetration during a wildfire.
Keeping your lawn and landscaping upkept isn’t only for aesthetics but increases your home’s survivability from a wildfire.
- REMOVE dead vegetation and other flammable materials, especially within the first 5 feet of the home.
- KEEP your lawn hydrated and maintained. If it is brown, cut it down to help reduce fire intensity.
- PRUNE tree limbs so the lowest branches are 6 to 10 feet above the ground to help reduce the chance of fire getting into the crowns of the trees.
- MOVE construction material, trash, and woodpiles at least 30 feet away from the home and other outbuildings.
- DISPOSE of branches, weeds, leaves, pine needles, and grass clippings that you have cut to reduce fuel for fire.
For more information on wildfires in Virginia, check out dof.virginia.gov