We’re fortunate there aren’t many natural disasters to worry about in the Okanagan. We don’t have earthquakes, tsunamis, or tornadoes but, every summer there’s one major threat: wildfires. So far, 2017 has been the second worst fire season on record for BC. It could get worse in the future so I figured now is a great time to discuss how you can protect your home from wildfire. Most of the following is from FireSmart Canada’s website which is an excellent resource on fire prevention.
Use Landscaping to Create a Defensible Space Around Your Home
There’s not much you can do about the woodland around you but there are precautions you can take in your yard that’ll reduce the threat of wildfire reaching your home. Try to have at least 10 metres of defensible space leading out from your house. One of the best ways to do this is to have “lean, clean, and green” landscaping. Cut large, leafy trees’ branches so they’re at least 8 feet from the ground; remove any highly combustible plants that contain oils, resin, or wax that ignite easily (junipers, red cedar, young pine, etc.); and plant moisture retaining vegetation that stays green all year long. By having a zone of low combustibility, you lower the odds of fire getting close to your home.
Clear Away Combustibles
We’re all guilty of letting stuff pile up in the yard so we can do one big dump run instead of a bunch of little ones. Unfortunately, that debris becomes fuel in a fire so make sure it’s cleared away as soon as possible. This includes dry leaves and grass clippings, dead brush, and stacks of firewood. Unfortunately, even wood fences and decks can catch fire easily so do what you can to ensure these are as fire resistant and far away from your home as possible.
Seal Your Home Up
Sparks and embers can enter your house through eaves and vent openings, causing a blaze to break out on the inside. You can prevent this from happening by covering all exterior attic and underfloor vents with wire mesh that has openings no larger than 1/8th of an inch. It’s a small detail but an important one.
Upgrade Your Roof
I’m sure it’s no surprise that the most vulnerable part of your home in a fire is the roof. It’s a prime target for embers to land on so make it as fire resistant as possible. Use Class A roofing materials like asphalt, clay, or slate tiles, metal, or even cement and concrete. Not only can they help fires from catching, they’re also durable, look great, and add value to your home.
Use Fire Resistant Building Materials
If you’re in an area at risk for fire, consider using fire resistant materials like stucco or masonry on outer walls instead of vinyl which can melt. Small windows hold up against heat better than large ones and having double pane or tempered glass adds another layer of protection. You should also consider buying heat resistant drapes; if a fire does make it nearby, regular curtains can burst into flame from the heat radiating through the window.
This post wasn’t as cheery some of my other blogs but it’s an important topic when you live in the Okanagan. Again, I highly recommend checking out the FireSmart Canada website, as well as their Homeowner’s Guide. It’s full of detailed information on how best to prepare and protect your property from wildfire.
Now that you know how to protect your home, let me help you find your perfect one! Contact me today so we can get started on getting you into the Okanagan property of your dreams.