The risk of wildfire is especially high right now. Take steps to protect your home from danger.
The 2018 Wildfire Season
Experts predicted a bad wildfire season. The National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC) warned that many states would face above normal wildfire risk this summer and fall. The west coast was expected to be hit especially hard.
As of mid-August, these predictions have already been proven true. According to AccuWeather, there are approximately 110 large wildfires burning in the United States. Most of these fires are in the western states, and conditions are expected to remain severe in the months to come. Texas fires are mostly contained at the moment, but with high winds and dry conditions, new threats spark every day, as you can see by the NBCDFW.com gallery featuring 61 Texas wildfire photos.
Stay Alert for Wildfires
Don’t assume a wildfire will never threaten your area. Understand the risk where you live. Some places are more prone to wildfires than others.
Even if you live in an area with a lower risk, you still need to be prepared. Keep an eye on the news and watch out for any fires in your area. Consider signing up for emergency alerts in your area. If a fire is threatening your home, you don’t want to be caught off guard.
Create Safety Zones Around Your Home
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends creating safety zones around your home. The first zone covers 30 feet around your home. Here, you want as little vegetation as possible. The second zone covers 100 feet around your house. Here, you want to remove the especially flammable vegetation. Avoid keeping flammable materials, such as firewood and propane tanks, too close to your home.
FEMA also recommends using fire resistant materials in the siding of your home, noncombustible materials for your roof and windows that have been treated to reduce fire risk. For more details, as well as recommendations for reducing the risk associated with porches, eaves, overhangs, vents, chimneys and stovepipes, see Avoiding Wildfire Damage: A Checklist for Homeowners.
Take Quick Action When a Wildfire Approaches
If a wildfire threatens your area, safety is the first concern. Be ready to evacuate.
If you have time to prepare your house before evacuation, remember to:
- Close windows and doors, but do not lock them.
- Move flammable items, such as curtains and furniture, away from windows.
- Shut off gas, pilot lights, air conditioner and outdoor propane tanks.
- Leave lights on for firefighters.
- Connect hoses to outside valves and fill buckets with water for firefighters, but do not leave the water running.
For more tips on defending your ranch from wildfire, see the Wildfire Ready Checklist from Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.
Help Prevent Wildfires
The best way to avoid wildfire risk is to prevent wildfires in the first place.
According to the National Park Service, up to 90 percent of wildfires in the U.S. are caused by humans.
- Dispose of cigarettes responsibly.
- Don’t leave campfires unattended.
- Be careful when burning debris.
- Pay attention to burn restrictions in your area.
Talk to Your Insurance Agent
Your homeowners insurance policy protects against wildfire risk, but do you have enough coverage if one damages or destroys your home? Talk to your Higginbotham insurance agent to make sure your homeowners insurance policy limits are sufficient.