When preparing your home for wildfire, zone 1 is the area you should start. Zone 1 extends 15-30 feet from the perimeter of your home, depending on property size. In Zone 1, you should remove all flammable vegetation, with the possible exception of fire resistant plants. The greater distance around your home that you follow zone 1 recommendations, the greater the chance your home will survive in a wildfire. Below are a list of things you can do in Zone 1 to help prevent the loss of your home in a wildfire:
- Do not store any firewood or other combustible materials in this zone.
- Remove all trees from Zone 1.
- Remove any tree branches that overhang the home or are within 10′ of the chimney.
- Remove all pine needles from your roof, gutters, deck and other structures.
- Do not use the space under your deck for storage.
- Enclose the underside of decks with a 1/16″ metal mesh screening to prevent embers from getting trapped under your deck.
- Install fire proof material to the underside of eaves. Overhanging eaves should not be wood, but rather metal.
- Install non flammable ground cover 5′ around the house. Replace wood chips, rubber mulch and grasses with decorative rock, concrete, pavers or other non flammable materials.
- Water grasses during the growing season and keep wild grasses mowed to a height of 6″ or less.
- Rake and remove pine needles, wood chips and other organic and woody materials.
Taking these steps in Zone 1 will greatly improve the risk that your home is lost in a wildfire and will make it more likely that an insurance company is willing to insure your home!