Protect Your Home from Wildfires

Protect Your Home from Wildfires

Summer is here and that also means tinder-dry conditions and the threat of more devastating wildfires. Insurance companies have noted that the number of fires, their intensity and destructive force have all been growing with each passing year. As insurers have gotten stricter in their underwriting for homeowner’s insurance, many people in high-risk areas have seen their policies non-renewed. Also, for homeowners that insurers will continue underwriting,

insurance companies and firefighters are strongly recommending that they maintain a “defensible space” around their home. This space that can stretch up to 100 feet from the home, if maintained properly, can serve as a protective zone around your home, reducing the chances that the structure burns during a wildfire. If your home is in an at-risk area, take these steps to increase the chances of it surviving a wildfire with minimal damage.

Prepare defensible space

Defensible space is essentially the last-ditch firebreak immediately around your home. Many fire prevention concepts are organized around the concept of maximizing defensible space.

To reduce the risk to your home, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CalFire) recommends that you manage your property in two zones (see below graphic).

Beyond defensible space: Fireproofing

Besides tending to your defensible space, you can also take steps to fireproof your home using various fire-resistant materials and covers to reduce the chances of hot embers entering your home. Cal Fire also recommends:

  • Roofing your home with Class A-rated materials.
  • If you have a wooden roof, treat it with a fire-retardant coating.
  • Install non-flammable siding.
  • Install mesh screens of 1/8” or less in vents and chimneys to block flaming embers.
  • Replace single-pane windows with dual-pane ones.
  • Use tempered glass in all windows.

A final word

For more information on protecting your home and family, visit CalFire’s website:, where you can also download a smartphone app to help you personalize your wildfire action plan and receive text messages on active wildfires in your area.

Above all, keep yourself and your family safe. Don’t try to be a hero and fight a wildfire by yourself with a hose. Do what you can, well before the fire, and know when to leave. If your home is damaged, wait for authorities to give the okay for people to enter their homes again.




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