Whether your home is rural or suburban, west or east of the Cascades, May's warming temperatures could turn surrounding brush and tall grass into potential wildfire tinder. Here's what you can do this month to protect your home:
- Keep grass mowed and watered within 30 feet of your home. Consider firebreaks as part of the landscape – gravel paths, ponds and driveways.
- Prune trees so the lowest branches – the foliage, not just where the branches attach to the trunk – are at least 15 feet high, and ensure no limbs come within 15 feet of your home. Eliminate "brush to branch" contact.
- Mulch with pumice or gravel rather than combustible beauty bark.
- Move firewood at least 30 feet away and uphill from any structure (uphill, since that's the direction fire tends to burn). Clear a 10-foot area around propane tanks and barbecues.
- Ensure tree crowns are spaced at least 20 feet apart. Clear wood debris that can fuel a fire along the forest floor.
- Make your property firefighter-friendly with your address visible from the street both day and night. Widen your driveway to at least 12 feet so a fire truck can get through.
- Prepare with a family emergency plan and kit, good whether you're facing the threat of a wildfire, earthquake, windstorm or flood.
Wildfire prevention isn't a once-and-done. As with most home maintenance chores, doing something is almost always better than doing nothing – and in the case of wildfire safety, lots of little "somethings" add up to make a big difference! Learn more on our wildfire blog.
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