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Day 3: Clear Combustibles Within 5' of Your Home

A simple, 7 day guide to improving your home and family's wildfire preparedness with easy, inexpensive tips.

Day 3: Clear Combustibles Within 5' of Your Home

The area nearest your house, from 0' to 5', including the surfaces of the structure itself, is the most vulnerable area.  t's the area closest to your house, including plants, decks, outdoor furniture, and the outside walls and coverings.  This area is most vulnerable and should be more aggressively maintained for fire resistance. There should be ZERO combustibles in this zone! 

  • Remove combustible outdoor furniture.  Replace with metal or non-combustible varieties.
  • Replace jute or natural fiber doormats with heavy rubber or metal grates.
  • Remove or relocate all combustible materials including garbage and recycling containers, lumber, trash, and patio accessories.
  • Clean all fallen leaves and needles.
  • No vegetation or plantings are recommended within 5’ of any structure.
  • Remove tree limbs that extend into this zone.  Fire-prone tree varieties should be removed if they extend into this zone.
  • Do not store firewood, lumber, or combustibles here, even (especially) under decks or overhangs.  Move stored combustibles inside or at least 30’ from any structure.
  • Use only inorganic, non-combustible mulches such as stone or gravel.
  • Hardscaping is strongly recommended around the base of structures.

Hardening Structures Against Wildfire

During a wildfire, tiny burning embers can fly far ahead of the fire, sometimes igniting homes a mile or more away from the fire itself.  A wildfire-safe home must be resistant to ignition from these flying embers, so that even if the flames do not reach your home, it will be able to withstand exposure to embers that may have been blown a mile or more in front of a wildfire. To provide maximum wildfire protection for your home, a combination of near-home vegetation management, appropriate building materials, and related design features must be used.

Learn more about fire resistant construction practices and materials here...

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