With ongoing drought conditions in the Brazos River basin, there have been several significant wildfires taking place. Although the much-needed rain arrived in the area and fire conditions have diminished, planning and reducing your risk are of great importance.
Homeowner fire prevention
Whether you live in the city, in the suburbs or the country protecting your property from a wildfire takes some effort and pre-planning.
Create a Defensible Space Around Your Home
Plant fire-resistant landscaping to create a separation between fuels the fire needs to continue burning. A well-maintained landscape is important to your home’s survival in a wildfire.
In the area closest to your home, clean your roof and gutters of dead leaves and debris that could catch embers.
Repair or replace damaged or missing shingles or roof tiles to prevent ember penetration. Move any flammable material away from exterior walls such as mulch, flammable plants and firewood piles.
In the area furthest from the exterior of your home, creating breaks can help decrease fire behavior.
Clear vegetation from under sheds, create fuel breaks with driveways, walkways, patios and decks and keep lawns mowed to only four inches in height. Space trees at least eighteen feet apart and ensure that the crown of the trees are at least ten feet from the edge of your home.
Create a Wildfire Action Plan
Have an evacuation plan and share it with all members of your household. This includes having an evacuation plan that discusses the location of emergency supplies and where everyone will meet in or outside the house to escape. Your family may not be together when a wildfire strikes. Be sure your plan includes a location away from your home, such as another family member’s home or a hotel, where you’ll meet if you become separated. And remember, mobile phone towers can also be affected by wildfire. Don’t depend on phone access to locate family members or to check on friends.
Prepare an emergency kit to use in your home or take with you when you leave. Items to have in your kit are:
- N95 masks
- Gallons of water
- Battery-operated radio
- First-aid kit
- Extra keys to home and car
- Essential medications
- Portable USB charger
Storing vital family documents such as birth certificates, passports, insurance information and banking records, in a fire-resistant container is ideal. You can even create digital copies of these items and save them in a password-protected folder to be accessed when needed.
Empower Yourself and Your Family
The more you know, the more you can prevent. Planning for a wildfire and evacuation, especially before the conditions call for it, is going to be key to survival.
For more information on planning for a possible wildfire situation, visit some of these sites: