WILDFIRES: Proactive steps to protect your property

Friday June 21, 2019

WILDFIRES: Proactive steps to protect your property

Wildfires are unpredictable and present unique challenges and obstacles but by being practical and proactive it’s possible to reduce the risk of wildfire before it threatens your property and community.

Read on to ensure wildfire property preparedness throughout summer.

British Columbia has seen two consecutive record-breaking wildfire seasons. As with any natural hazard exposure, a critical step towards mitigating loss is education and preparedness.

Prepping your property can decrease your chance of fire damage, but will not eliminate it. Preparing a safe zone up to 100 meters around your property can help reduce potential exposure to flames and radiant heat. Defining priority zones and mitigation steps for each zone can help reduce the spread of wildfire and other fire dangers around your property.

 

Zone 1

10 Meters Around Your Property

The first 10 meters around your property are the most critical. A fuel-free zone gives firefighters a better chance to save your home from advancing fire.

The following measures can help reduce the spread of fire to your property:

  • Remove all fuel sources (ex. lawn furniture, potted plants, woodpiles, BBQs, toys)
  • Rake leaves, dead limbs and twigs, and clear out all flammable vegetation
  • Any grass should be kept short and watered
  • Clean debris from roof and gutters
  • Ensure no trees or vegetation overhang the roof
  • Prune tree branches and shrubs within 5 meters of a stovepipe or chimney outlet
  • Keep chimneys clean and maintained
  • Keep a sprinkler and hose that is long enough to reach any area of your home or structure on your property

 

Zone 2

10 to 30 Meters Around Your Property

The second zone should be maintained to reduce the spread of fire by minimizing fuel sources.

The following measures can help slow the spread of fire to your  property:

  • Prune all tree branches within 2 meters of the ground
  • Remove leaves, twigs, and thick shrubbery that might provide an opportunity for a ground fire to spread into the forest canopy

This area should be kept clean and manicured. Tree density is important as fire spreads quickly through the crowns of trees:

  • Maintain tree crown spacing of 3-6 meters

Coniferous trees (Pines, Spruce, Douglas Fir, Hemlock, etc.) are much more combustible compared with deciduous trees, and create an easy fuel source for fires:

  • Reduce or remove coniferous trees in this zone

 

Zone 3

30 to 100 Meters Around Your Property

The third zone, extending 30-100 meters and beyond from your property, is intended to slow  an approaching wildfire and also act a transition area  between  the  more  heavily  modified Zone 2 and unmodified surroundings.

The following “fuel management” measures can help slow the spread of fire to your property:

  • Prune tree branches within 2 meters of the ground
  • Maintain tree crown spacing of 3-6 meters

 

Peace of Mind

BFL Risk Control Engineering can assist your organization in the development of pre- incident and recovery plans as well as assisting with hazard assessments, fire protection maintenance programs and provide site-specific loss control inspection services.

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