6 Easy Steps to Protect Your Home This Wildfire Season

With summer approaching, there is no better time to educate ourselves on what we can do to prevent and manage wildfires in our community and on our property. To help you become wildfire resilient, we have prepared the following steps that you can follow to protect your home and neighbourhood this fire season.

1. Keeping Your Lawn, Roof, and Gutters Clean
Debris clean-up and proper yard maintenance can significantly reduce the risk of fire. Since dry leaves, twigs, and branches are flammable, you should always remove them from your yard, roof, and gutters. Also, make sure to examine any older trees on your property as they can have rot and damage that makes them susceptible to fire.
2. Choosing the Right Plants
Plant low-growing, well-spaced, fire-resistant plants, and shrubs. Fire-resistant plants are those with moist, supple leaves, water-like sap, and minimal accumulation of dead vegetation. Examples of these plants include poplar, birch, aspen, cottonwood, maple, alder, ash, and cherry. Avoid cedar, juniper, pine, tall grass, and spruce as they are considered highly flammable plants. 
3. Taking Care of Your Grass
A mowed lawn is a fire-resistant lawn. Grass shorter than 10 centimetres is less likely to burn intensely. If possible, ensure your lawn is well hydrated, as dry grass has a higher flammability potential. Lastly, consider a xeriscape yard to reduce or eliminate the need for irrigation.
4. Assessing Your Property
Ensure that your roof is made from fire-resistant materials, such as metal, asphalt, clay, and composite rubber tiles. You should also assess the windows and doors of your home. Since single-pane windows provide little resistance to heat from an advancing wildfire, it is recommended that you opt for tempered, double-paned windows instead. As per your doors, make sure they are fire-rated and have a proper seal. 
5. Maintaining a 1.5-Metre, Non-Combustible Zone Around Your Home
This means keeping the space around your house free from plants, debris, and combustible materials. Your non-combustible zone should comprise a surface of soil, rock, or stone.
6. Cleaning Under Decks
Sheath the base of the decks, balconies, and houses with fire-resistant material to reduce the risk of sparks and embers igniting the home. Embers can collect under decks, so be sure to enclose the areas and, more importantly, remove fuel that may accumulate underneath them.