10 Tips for a Safer Home This Wildfire Season

In order to properly prepare for wildfire season, the Cow Creek Public Safety Team wants community members to be aware of just how effective modest fire protection efforts can be.

Most homes that catch fire during a wildfire are not caused by a wall of flame. Rather, they are ignited by flying embers that make their way into vulnerable areas of a home. But there are some simple ways to make your home more resistant to embers.

1. Make sure there is as much defensible space as possible around the home.

Clear the surrounding area of brush, rubbish, and combustible materials, such as as stack of firewood.

2. Make sure trees are trimmed up about 10 feet from the ground.

This doesn’t mean the area surrounding the home must be devoid of all vegetation, but what is present should be green, watered, trimmed away from the home, and kept to a minimum of density.

3. Clean out the gutters.

4. Replace bark mulch surrounding the home with river rock or gravel.

5. Properly cover vents around the home.

This is often overlooked, but very important. Make sure vents have at least 1/8 inch or smaller mesh to help keep embers out of the attic and under the house. If a fire is approaching and there is time, consider covering these vents with a fire-resistant material.

6. If possible, consider using fire resistant building materials, such as concrete board siding and metal gutters.

In this article from NPR, an insurance research institute conducted a test that demonstrates the difference in building materials that are fire resistant versus wood construction. You can also watch a video of the demonstration in this news report here.

Along with these fire safety tips, there are several ways you can assist evacuating authorities and firefighters.

7. Let authorities know you have evacuated by leaving a “white flag” on your mailbox or driveway.

This saves them time from knocking on the door of an empty home. If you don’t have a flag, use chalk on your driveway and leave a message you have left.

8. Make ladders available to firefighters.

Do you have a ladder? Get it out and set it in plain view in your yard. Firefighters may need it and it is very helpful if they don’t have to go searching for things.

9. Have a hose available and in plain view for authorities.

10. Remove outdoor furniture, BBQ’s, other items from the home.

Help firefighters have a clear path to your home by putting these items either in the garage or away from the house.

If there are any local evacuation orders in Douglas County, the Cow Creek Umpqua Tribe has partnered with Douglas County in order to maintain consistency and maximize life safety for all. If you become aware of an evacuation order in your area from Douglas County, there won’t be any need to double check with Tribal authorities, because Cow Creek Public Safety will mirror that order.

Cow Creek Tribal Board Room