How To Prepare for a Wildfire
Wildfires are one of the most destructive natural forces on our planet. While sometimes caused by lightning, 9 out of 10 wildfires are human-caused. And August is typically the peak of wildfire season. An area from the Texas Panhandle to California is under a red alert due to the heightened risk of wildfires. In Arizona, the Sawtooth Fire in the Superstition Wilderness area just east of Phoenix has burned over 25,000 acres. If you live in a wildfire-prone area, follow these tips to mitigate the risks of suffering a wildfire loss.
- If you are building a house or planning to replace a roof, consider noncombustible or fire-resistant roofing materials, such as Class-A asphalt shingles, metal, cement, and concrete products, or terra-cotta tiles.
- These types of roofs are less susceptible to embers from a wildfire.
- Remove any dead branches, leaves, and any other vegetation from your roof and gutters.
- Remove any dry brush from your yard and stack firewood at least 20 or 25 feet from your home.
- Create a "fuel-break"—driveways, gravel walkways, or lawns.
- Prevent sparks from entering your home by covering vents with wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch. Cover skylights and chimney outlets with nonflammable screening materials.
- Use tempered glass in your windows since this material withstands high temperatures from wildfires better than regular plate or double-pane glass.
- Make trellises of nonflammable metal.
- Avoid certain exterior siding materials, such as vinyl, which soften and melt easily under high temperatures. Instead, siding materials such as stucco or masonry should be selected since these resist heat better.