Wildfire Community Preparedness Day is a national campaign to help residents learn about wildfire risks and what can be done on and around properties to protect against the threat of wildfires. Studies show that measures taken at the home and in the area within 100 feet of it, known as the Home Ignition Zone (HIZ), have a significant impact on minimizing damage and loss. Something as simple as clearing the immediate 5-foot zone around the home can assist in making a huge difference in avoiding a catastrophe.
There are simple things you can do in an afternoon or over a weekend that research shows will help protect your home.
- Locate two alternate routes out of your neighborhood (besides the one normally used) and plan and practice a family evacuation drill using those alternate routes.
- Measure how close wood piles are located to the home. If any are closer than 30 feet, move them farther away from structures.
- Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire screening no larger than 1/8-inch mesh to help keep embers out during a wildfire.
- Can you see your home’s address number from the street? How about your neighbors’? If not, trim overgrown vegetation covering or blocking the numbers on your homes in case firefighters need to find you.
- Check your possessions. Get tips from the Insurance Information Institute on how to document your belongings.
- Check in on others! Help elderly relatives or neighbors enter emergency numbers into their cell phones. Using large type, post their phone number and street address above their landline phone so it can easily be seen when providing important information to an emergency dispatcher.
- Clean out gutters.
- Sweep porches and decks, clearing them of leaves and pine needles. Rake under decks, porches, sheds, and play structures.
- Remove items stored under decks and porches and relocate them to a storage area. Gasoline cans and portable propane tanks should never be stored indoors or near the home.
- Rake and remove pine needles and dry leaves to a minimum of 3 to 5 feet from a home’s foundation. Over time, continue up to a 30-foot distance around the home. Dispose of collected debris in appropriate trash receptacles.
- On mature trees, use hand pruners and loppers to remove low-hanging tree branches up to a height of 4 feet from the ground (specific height depends on the type and size of tree).
- Collect downed tree limbs and broken branches and take them to a disposal site.
- Replace wood chips in landscapes with gravel.
- Let your neighbors know you are taking time to do Prep Day work and reducing the risk of wildfires.
- Post your project on social media asking neighbors to get involved: “My family is going to do work around our home on Prep Day. Will you do a project around your home? Together, our neighborhood could reduce our risk.” #WildfirePrepDay
View the City of Lafayette's Wildfire Awareness webpage: Lafayetteco.gov/Wildfires