California’s latest deadly, costly wildfires have increased awareness about them. However, what you might not know is you don’t have to be near a forest to be in danger. Wildfires can just as easily burn their way through urban areas, so ensure to include wildfires in your emergency planning.
While much of fire safety planning focuses on the interior, wildfire planning includes the exterior. FEMA recommends using fire-resistant materials whenever possible, and screen all vents with fine wire mesh to catch sparks and firebrands.
Preparation doesn’t end with the building. OSHA recommends setting up safety zones in your landscaping by:
- Removing combustible material and reduce vegetation to a minimum within a 30-foot zone of buildings
- Clearing branches and shrubs that are within 15 feet of chimneys or stovepipes and removing vines from the walls of buildings.
- Frequently mowing grass and replacing vegetation with less flammable species to better protect against spreading wildfires.
- Adding an additional secondary 70-foot safety zone is recommended. Removing smaller trees and landscape debris and replacing highly flammable trees and shrubs with fire-resistant species. Gravel walks and driveways, preferably large enough for fire trucks, can act as firebreaks.
Wildfires present many challenges when it comes to evacuation. Just as fire can block escape routes inside a building, wildfires can cut off roads that are ideal evacuation routes. FEMA offers a free, online kit for setting up planning and holding drills.
Contact Vanguard Resources for more information on emergency planning.