Defending Our Homes Against Wildfires 

Firewise Note 2

We live in Westminster Glen Estates, in part, because of the peaceful and lovely setting. The Balcones Canyonlands Preserve which surrounds us enhances the landscape but is considered a wildland. When a wildland is near an urban area, it creates conditions that allow fires to reach past trees and brush to ignite homes and their surroundings. Wildland fires are a natural process that often create hazards, such as burning embers or direct flames that can ignite homes. 

Firefighters do not have the resources to defend every home when wildland fires break out. We must take steps to protect our homes and increase our own chances of withstanding wildland fires. We can save our homes and possibly our lives by making our homes compatible with nature. 

These are suggestions from Firewise USA: 

HOME SAFETY CHECKLIST

 * Clean roofs and gutters of dead leaves, debris and pine needles that could catch embers 

 * Replace or repair any loose or missing shingles or roof tiles to prevent ember penetration 

 * Enclose under-eave and soffitt vents or screen with metal mesh to prevent ember entry 

 * Cover exterior attic vents with metal wire mesh no larger than 1/8 inch to prevent sparks from entering the home 

 * Repair or replace damaged or loose window screens and any broken windows 

 * Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating 

 * Move any flammable material away from wall exteriors – mulch, flammable plants, leaves and needles, firewood piles – anything that can burn 

 * Remove anything stored underneath decks or porches 

Information gathered from “How to Have a Firewise Home” by Firewise USA, an initiative of the National Fire Protection Association