Grand Forks Fire Rescue talks preparing your home for wildfires
Grand Forks Fire & Rescue (Alex Alan, MyGrandForksNow.com staff)
Here’s some steps to make your home more safe during wildfire season from Grand Forks Fire & Rescue. Mowing the lawn and pruning trees are easy ways to limit combustible material.
Deputy Fire Chief Richard Piché recommends non-combustible landscaping options such as gravel and crushed stone:
“Those things can create little fuel-breaks around your home, and the other real simple thing is just clean-up your pine-needles, clean up your leaves, rake up that stuff. Those are the things that an ember will easily ignite if it ever landed in your home, so anything like that, just general housekeeping would be my highest recommendation.”
He adds that keeping your home ignition zones clean can help your house survive exposure to fire or embers:
“Like an immediate zone to your home would be zero to five feet right around your house, if an ember drops in that area and there is something combustible it’s highly likely it will ignite that and then probably lead to your home. So that could be something as simple as a cedar shrub….”
The intermediate zone ranges from five to 30 feet, and is a safer place to store firewood. Combustible material such as heavy fuels should be kept in the extended zone of 30 to 100 feet away.
Piché says the Rock Creek wildfire a few years ago was a prime example:
“We saw some homes that were some-what fire-smarted and they were left unsaved from the fire, and it was sometimes as simple as they just had nice green grass. The fire is going to take the path of least resistance. If there is just a little bit of a humidity around your home, it sometimes will just go right around, so sprinklers keeping the grass moist….”
He adds to ensure home and neighbourhood signs are easily readable for emergency responders. You should also practice an emergency action plan with everyone in your home. Fire resistive construction options including class-A fire rated roofing products are another recommendation. You could also consider having fire resistant siding and dual-pane tempered glass windows. You’re urged to remove dead vegetation and debris, as well as never store flammable materials underneath decks or porches.