Forest Fires and Protecting Your Home

What is happening in California is sad and overwhelming. I hope the weather cooperates so that the firefighters and evacuees can return to their homes soon. Below is a discussion of forest fires and what you can do to protect your home from uncontrolled wild fires.

About Forest Fires

To human beings, the idea of a forest fires is terrifying because they seem uncontrollable and unforgiving. This terror had resulted in several well-intentioned, yet narrow-minded, policies to completely stop all forest fires. For years, the government wrongly assumed fires had nothing but destructive implications. Millions of dollars were spent to educate Americans about the importance of preventing fires and to suppress naturally occurring fires.

Although its smart to be safe, the reality is that most forest fires are part of an ecosystem lifecycle. Through destruction of old dead plants and creation of carbon/nutrients for new growth, the forests regenerate. Suppressing fires can actually suffocate new forest growth. In fact, California's famous Giant Sequoia's stopped growing and regenerating during the era of complete fire suppression because natural forest fires were necessary for the tree's expansion.

Modern policies utilize controlled burns to help clear underbrush and facilitate forest growth. This also helps prevent the fast growing, horribly destructive wild fires that California is currently experiencing. By clearing underbrush or dead plants, the fuel for these brutal fires is removed. This policy is not a one-size-fits-all fix for preventing fires. It has to be applied in conjunction with scientific understanding.

How to Protect Your Home

It is a fact of life that forest fires are going to impact human beings. As humans continue to develop land and spread suburbia out, we encroach on forest ecosystems must cope with the consequences of this. There are definitely things you can do to make your home less fire-prone when a forest fire breaks out in your neighborhood.
  1. Overhanging Branches: During the windy conditions that exist during a forestfire, flames/sparks can travel from the tree to the roof of your home. Remove overhanging branches with a saw so they won't fall on your home and set the roof on fire.

  2. Dead Leaves: Dead leaves that collect around your home can be fuel for an advancing fire. Make sure to rake-up your yard and dispose of the leaves in a way that prevents them from contributing to the fire's growth. Also, make sure dead leaves are removed from your roof and gutters.

  3. Unmowed Lawn: The long, dead grass around your home provides a great path for fire to follow right to your front door. Mow your lawn regularly and don't allow your grass to become brittle and dry.

For more tips on protecting your home from forest fires...CLICK HERE

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