[NOTE: In light of the tragic loss of life of the brave firefighters in Arizona and for all the men and women firefighters who work to protect lives and property, we all need to make extra efforts to take steps to reduce the risk of wildfires and home fires. Our work both inside and out of our homes will not only create defensible spaces, but, just as importantly, will assist those who risk their lives to stay out of harms way. This article is adapted from When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival]
Following on the heels of 2012’s record-breaking droughts, heat waves, and fire storms, this year’s fires season is off to an earlier and more deadly/damaging start in several of the western states. If current scientific predictions of global warming prove anywhere near correct, then we can expect that devastating wildfires will become the new normal in the coming years, reaching a broader spectrum of geographical zones that previously escaped such conflagrations. Whether you are a homeowner wishing to improve the fire resistance of your current dwelling or are planning to build a new home, beyond creating a “defensible space” around your home there are a number of other actions you can take to improve the chances that your home will survive a local wildfire. These guidelines are typically applied to homes located in areas where long periods of dry weather are common, such as many of the western states. However, due to changing times, people in many areas where the threat of wildfires was previously a non-issue are now finding it to be a growing concern.