In 2015, wildfires consumed a record 10.1 million acres in the United States. Wildfire season is 2.5 months longer than it was 30 years ago, with 4 times as many large, long-duration forest fires occurring each year.
You might not think you’re at risk; but over the last 4 years, wildfires have occurred in every single state. What does this mean for you? No matter where you live, now’s the time to think about wildfire prevention.
Here are 8 wildfire prevention steps that we recommend taking now, before the weather turns hot and dry.
8 Must-Read Wildfire Prevention Tips
1. Design smart landscaping, using gravel walkways between sections of vegetation to create firebreaks. Choose plants that are high in moisture (like aloe) or fire-resistant (like French lavender); and avoid flammable trees like conifers. Keep grass short; trim dead branches; and remove unnecessary shrubs and thin trees.
2. Restrict open burning when it’s windy, dry, and hot.
3. Choose fire-resistant materials when it’s time for a new roof, deck, fence, or siding. For existing structures, apply a fire-retardant coating.
4. Clear debris from roofs & gutters, since dry leaves and branches are ready fuel for windblown embers.
5. Consider roof-mounted sprinkler systems, which may qualify for FEMA grants in your state.
6. Store combustible materials safely. Don’t keep items like gas containers where they could heat up or tip over. A cool, dark, ventilated storage area away from residential structures is ideal.
7. Establish communication procedures between staff and residents for imminent threats, and hold safety drills periodically.
8. Make sure you’re covered. If a home is at an elevated level of risk, property insurance companies may help with risk assessment and wildfire prevention efforts. Make sure that tenants have renters insurance for what’s inside their homes, too.
Last, consider hiring a property manager, whose expertise and assistance will be invaluable to you under any circumstances. When you’re ready to get free quotes from property managers in your area, All Property Management will be here to help.
Robin Burinskiy is the Senior Content Writer and Managing Editor for the All Property Management Blog and Buildium Blog. She cut her teeth as a marketing copywriter at Wayfair and TechTarget, and she spends her free time perfecting her lifestyle blog, Feather & Flint. She holds degrees in psychology, sociology, and songwriting.