Summers in California are typically hot, dry and windy. These weather conditions often bring the threat of large wildfires in the Golden State. 2017 has been an unusually trying year for wildfires. So far this year, there have been more than 3,200 fires in California, scorching nearly 113,000 acres — according to CAL FIRE, the statewide firefighting agency responsible for 31 million acres throughout the state. Comparatively speaking, CAL FIRE reported 2,480 fires that burned 32,000 acres for the same period a year ago. California’s five-year average through mid-July is 2,672 fires and 37,000 acres of scorched land.
Knowing that we are in peak wildfire season, what can we do to protect ourselves and our homes in the event of a wildfire close to home?
We turned to the wildfire experts at CAL FIRE, which has a “Ready for Wildfire” app and website that walks users through key steps for preventing wildfires to maintaining the required 100 feet of defensible space around homes. They’ve outlined some guidelines for California residents who want to prepare their homes for wildfires, and they say it all starts by creating a defensible space around your home and having an executable evacuation plan.
Creating defensible space is essential to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. It’s the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it. This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it protects your home from catching fire – either from direct flame contact or radiant heat. Defensible space is also important for the protection of the firefighters defending your home. Learn more here: Defensible Space Zones and Fire Resistant Landscaping
Before wildfire strikes, it is important that you get Set. Prepare yourself and your home for the possibility of having to evacuate. There are three main preparation actions that should be completed and familiar to all members of your household long in advance of a wildfire.
Three Steps to Getting Set:
1. Create a Wildfire Action Plan that includes evacuation planning for your home, family and pets.
2. Assemble an Emergency Supply Kit for each person in your household.
3. Fill-out a Family Communication Plan that includes important evacuation and contact information.
GO! EVACUATION GUIDE
Give your household the best chance of surviving a wildfire by being ready to go and evacuating early. This includes going through pre-evacuation preparation steps (only if time allows) to increase your home’s defenses, as well as creating a Wildfire Action Plan for your family. Being ready to go also means knowing when to evacuate and what to do if you become trapped. Click here to Download the evacuation brochure!
Protecting your home, family and pets from catastrophes is best done early. By taking a few precautionary measures, and being prepared with the Ready, Set, GO! plan, you can dramatically increase the chances of survival. Here are some other ways you can make sure this fire season is a safe one.