Wildfires are fires that occur in open, undeveloped areas and quickly spread. Wildfire is caused by the combination of heat, fuel from flammable material and oxygen. Lightning or a long dry spell can also ignite these fires. Three of the top 10 deadliest fires in the United States were wildfires, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
The Institute for Business and Home Safety notes that one-third of homes in the United States are surrounded by natural trees and other vegetation that can leave them susceptible in the event of an out-of-control wildfire. Wind-driven embers can ignite deck and patio furniture, lounge chair cushions, awnings, wood piles and accumulations of pine needles and leaves.
You can reduce the risk of damage by:
- Maintain plants near a house. Avoid the use of wood, bark and rubber mulch that can catch fire.
- Enclose the bottom of an elevated deck, patio or porch and consider screening the top area.
- Keep trellises, arbors, playground equipment, boats, RVs, firewood, propane tanks and other combustibles at least 30 feet from the house.
- Close windows to prevent burning embers from getting inside.
- Cover attic and crawlspace vents with 1/8-inch metal screens to help keep out burning embers.
- Choose a Class A fire-rated roof covering capable of withstanding severe fire exposure, and keep the roof and gutters clear of debris.
To prevent wildfires, follow these tips:
- Be cautious when lighting a campfire and make sure it is completely out.
- If you are burning debris, choose a safe site and check the area for anything that could catch on fire.
- Always have an emergency supply kit on hand.