Prepare your Home for Wildfire Season

Published on August 8, 2023

With the weather getting hotter every year and the wildfire season starting earlier and earlier, the risk to your home is very real.

Some fires are human-caused, but plenty more are caused by lightning strikes in hot, dry forests, and where those occur can be unpredictable. It feels like something that happens to other people until you get an evacuation order and have to leave the area within the hour. Leaving your home and everything in it is daunting enough, but wondering if it will all still be there when you get back? Gut-wrenching.

While the fate of your home is unknown in that situation, there are some things you can do to help mitigate the chances of losing your house. Knowing how to prepare for a wildfire and protect your home is essential in today’s climate.

Coniferous, or evergreen, trees are much more flammable than deciduous trees. Their needles burn very quickly, and the embers from their burning can be carried in the wind a fair distance away. That doesn’t mean you should go out and cut all your trees down; they need to be far enough from the house and spaced far enough apart that it interrupts the fire’s path. 

Having trees a reasonable distance from your house will help protect your home from a wildfire; at least 30 feet is ideal, but further is better. If you have evergreen trees on your property, ensure the lower branches are pruned right back to the trunk, as those trees burn up from the ground. If there are no branches for the fire to latch on to, it’s less likely to catch on that tree.

In preparing for wildfires, you will also want to ensure you don’t have dead leaves, twigs, or branches lying around; that’s just kindling and makes it easier for the fire to spread. If you’ve got a leaf pile for composting, soak it with water so it’s not dried out. Dispose of any debris that may be gathering around your yard. If there are no restrictions against it, water your lawn as much as possible. Dry grass will burn quickly, and moisture is the enemy of fire.

When thinking about wildfire home protection, consider your deck and exterior. If you’ve got a wooden deck or siding on your house, take the time to power wash any dead leaves or pine needles that may have accumulated in the nooks and crannies. It would take some time for that wood to catch fire, but having dry debris wedged in would act as kindling and accelerate it. The same goes for any debris built up in your rain gutters; take the time to clean them out as well to protect your home.

If you have a fire pit that burns wood, you likely have a wood pile. Make sure it’s far back from the house as well. It is literally fuel for the fire, so keep it away from what you don’t want to be burned. Consider getting a propane fire pit if you must have a backyard fire. Since it’s not burning anything solid, there’s no risk of it spreading.

Whether or not there’s excessive wildfire activity in your area, it could change drastically with little notice. Additionally, to be properly prepared for a wildfire and possible evacuation, keep essential documents somewhere you can grab quickly, or keep them in a fire-proof container if you can’t. 

Your home is the most significant investment of your life; you need to take good care of it. With over 40 years of combined experience in the industry, we have seen it all in the Okanagan real estate market. With us on your side, we will ensure your best interest is top of mind. 

Call 250-860-0303, and let’s get started!


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