Fire season has arrived and homeowners in the wildland/urban interface (WUI) should be thinking about performing a Wildfire Hazard Assessment. "Hazard assessments are an important tool in fire prevention and aid in protecting homes and property," says State Fire Marshal Mike Matlick. Several aspects of the home and property are evaluated and points assigned to each hazard - the higher the hazard, the higher the number of points. The points are then tallied and the level of risk is determined by the score; hazard categories are low, moderate, high and extreme.
Interface homeowners have several factors to consider when mitigating the wildfire hazards to their home. The changes below are optimum to create a low-hazard Firewise home:
- Roofing Material - Made of fire-resistant material such as metal, tile or composition.
- Roof Cleanliness - No accumulation of combustible debris.
- Building Exterior - Non-combustible siding such as stucco, brick, or metal.
- Eaves, Vents & Openings - Screened with corrosion-resistant, 3-millimetre wire mesh.
- Balcony, Deck or Porch - None or fire-resistant material with 12-millimetre sheathing.
- Window & Door Glazing - Tempered or multiple-pane windows.
- Vegetation Types - Fire-resistant vegetation that is green and well watered or drought-resistant.
- Defensible Space - At least 30 feet but preferably 100 feet surrounding home.
Means of Access:
- Ingress & Egress - Two or more roads in and out of your property.
- Road Width & Accessibility - Driveway is at least 20 feet wide with 15 feet of overhead clearance for emergency vehicles.
- Street Signs - Visible and made of non-combustible material; address numbers are clearly marked with 4" reflective letters.
For more information on Wildfire Hazard Assessments, please contact your local fire department or visit the Firewise website at www.firewise.org.