Wildfire safety is paramount if you own or rent property near forests, rural areas or remote mountain sites. According to the National Fire Protection Association, over 58,000 fires burned almost nine million acres across the United States, including 18,137 residences in 2018.
Preparation is critical when it comes to wildfire safety. Homes that survive wildfires almost always do so because their owners take proper precautions to prepare for them. Wildfires often begin unnoticed and spread quickly, igniting brush, trees and homes. Decrease your risk by following these 10 ways to prepare your home and family for wildfires.
- Two Defensible Spaces
Create a defensible space in two zones.
Zone 1: Green and Clean
Make sure the 30 feet nearest the home is lean, clean and green. Ground cover plants, potted succulents and hard surfaces like concrete, stone or asphalt work best in this space.
Zone 2: The next 70 feet around your home should have grass that’s no longer than four inches. Spread out any plants and shrubs in this area.
- Water Shield
Install an irrigation system like outdoor sprinklers to reinforce the defensible space.
- Plant Spacing
Adequate spacing is critical for trees and plants. Large trees should not have plants or smaller trees below them to ensure they don’t serve as fuel to ignite the bigger tree.
- Keep Tree Limbs Away from Home
Tree limbs shouldn’t touch the home or other buildings, and branches shouldn’t come within 10 feet of a chimney. Shorter trees are safer than taller ones when it comes to wildfire safety.
- Reduce Fire Fuel
Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, branches, bark, cones or other debris that could serve as fuel for a wildfire.
- Emergency Water Supply
Emergency water supplies like hydrants, cooperative storage tanks or pool and pond water (minimum of 2,500 gallons) can help firefighters put out a fire. Clearly mark all emergency water sources so first responders can easily spot them during an emergency.
- Stay Safe
Create and practice a home evacuation plan at least twice a year to prepare for wildfires.
- Home Inventory
Create an up-to-date list of your valuables and belongings. Take video or pictures of each item and store the information somewhere safe and accessible.
- Insurance for Wildfires
Meet with a Mercury Insurance agent to discuss homeowners insurance and ensure you have the right amount of coverage in place.
- Report a Loss
Contact your insurer immediately if a wildfire damages your home. Do not remove any debris or damaged property related to the claim.
Mercury Insurance is dedicated to helping our clients protect their assets and prepare for wildfires. Talk to your Mercury agent to learn more about homeowners insurance and how it can help you in the wake of a wildfire.