Victoria Beyer 3 ways to protect yourself from wildfires Brush Fire

10/19/2021 | Homeowners

3 Ways to Protect Yourself from Wildfires

It’s Fall Season! It’s that time of the year where the pumpkins come out, leaves are changing colors and fire prevention is on our minds in the 805 area! We used to say Fall is “fire season” where hot dry winds, we call Santa Anas, come barrelling through our neighborhoods, but to be honest, lately it has been a year round occurrence. Regardless, if it’s due to the Santa Anas, or old power lines, you want to take every precaution! I had an event where our Ventura Fire Department spoke at one of the Westlake Village neighborhoods about fire prevention to protect your home and yourself from the wildfires. In case you missed it, grab that Pumpkin Spice Latte and read below the top 3 ways to protect yourself from wildfires.

1. The Zone

The firefighters say there are two zones every homeowner needs to think about when preventing fires outside of the house. This is called the defensible space. The Defensible space is a space between the house and the wildland area which creates a buffer to reduce the spread of wildfire to the structure. 

Zone One is 30 feet from the home. In this zone it is suggested to remove all dead and dying vegetation, trim the tree canopies and remove wood piles and other combustible materials. 

Zone Two it’s 32 100 feet from the house. It is suggested to remove dead material and thinning read vegetations to minimize fire jumping from plant to plant. In Zone One and Zone Two, remove ladder fuels. Ladder Fuels are level vegetation that allows the fire to spread from the ground to the top of the tree.

Victoria Beyer defensible_space_zones
Defensible Space Zones

2. Home Protection

The firefighters spoke about the importance of hardening home. Hardening Home is safe guarding your home from wildfires by taking inventory of the outside structure of your home. Embers from wildfire are usually the cause of house fires embers can find its way through small cracks into your homes. Here is a list of things to consider:

  • Roofs and walls are vulnerable parts of your home as it is the most exposed. If possible, replace it with fire-resistant material. 
  • Vents are an easy way for flying embers to get into the attic or your home and cover the vents with 1/8 inch or smaller material mesh.
  • Windows can break if they are single paned due to the heat.
  • Balconies and decks can attract embers if there are flammable material left around. Try to enclose the area with fire resistant material. 

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3. Prepare, Position, Proceed

Prepare

You should prepare your family and your house with evacuate plans and have items packed. Below are a couple of things to consider:

  • Have fire extinguishers available and make sure everyone in your family knows how to use it. 
  • Establish a location like a family or friend’s house outside of the fire area.
  • Create an emergency supply kit including emergency contact list, extra clothes and 3 gallons of water for each member of the family.

Position

As the fire approaches and you hear neighboring towns are evacuating, the best and safe thing for you to do is leave. Before you evacuate, it is a good idea to check the outside and inside of your home because you want to prevent flying embers starting a fire. Use is preventive from flying embers. Here are a couple of things to consider:

  • Outside your home, bring all flammable items inside, 
  • Turn off the propane tanks,
  • Have a ladder available.
  • Inside your home, shut off the air conditioner,
  • Shut off the gas meter and the pilot light,
  • Remove the curtains and leave the lights on. Firefighters can see your house if under smoky conditions

Proceed

If you are told to evacuate, then leave as soon as possible. This will prevent you from getting caught in traffic leaving the area. Leaving the area will allow room for firefighters to move quickly and freely on the roads. Be sure to take the emergency supply kit, important documents and anything irreplaceable. 

In 2018, the Woolsey fire hit our 805 area. Many friends and family had to evacuate and some lost their homes. The wildfires started in Bell Canyon and moved quickly to Oak Park, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks to Malibu. After several weeks, people were saying how unprepared they were. I hope these 3 ways to protect yourself from wildfires help everyone in planning for the future for the safety of you and your family. 

If you have any questions regarding fire prevention or real estate in the 805 area, please do not hesitate to contact me.

http://www.vbeyerrealestate.com/

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