Be Better Prepared when a Wildfire Hits

Aug 29, 2023
Be Better Prepared when a Wildfire Hits.

Wildfires are no joke. They are extremely dangerous and deadly to vegetation, trees, homes, animals, and people. A wildfire, also known as a bushfire, is an uncontrolled, unplanned fire that starts in both urban and rural areas.

Fossil records indicate that wildfires began shortly after the appearance of terrestrial plants 420 million years ago. In fact, Earth is the perfect location for wildfires to form, this is owed to its cover of carbon-rich vegetation, atmospheric oxygen, seasonally dry climates, and widespread lightning and volcanic ignitions.

Wildfires also get hot — incredibly hot. The average fire on the forest floor might have flames reaching 1 meter in height, these sorts of fires can reach temperatures of 800°C (1,472°F) or more when wind is involved. Wind increases the supply of oxygen which causes a fire to burn hotter, as well as, speeds the fire’s travel time and increases the distance the fire can reach with burning embers flying over 1 mile in 5 minutes.

Wildfires are no joke — Be Better Prepared when a Wildfire Hits

Each state and region has its own official wildfire preparedness information, safety advisements, and zone codes. Please look up the fire safety council in your area and follow their recommendations to protect your home, pets, and family.

In Nevada County, where we are located, we have Cal Fire, Are You Fire Safe, Ready Nevada County, and other departments to help residents prepare for, inform, and protect against wildfires.

There are many procedures and steps that are the same no matter where you live that every state and region agrees needs to be done by you to prepare your home and your family for safety and survival.

Home and Land

Living in and amongst the trees is a blessing for those who do it — big cities are not for us. But that joy and peace come with a price and an ongoing upkeep of your home. Yes, it is a lot of work and at times a lot of money. But it is all worth it, and your neighbors will be happy you did the work together to protect the neighborhood and community. One home not complying or preparing puts the entire community, hillside, and neighborhood at risk.

Home Hardening

Install a Class A fire-rated Roof that will increase your home’s chance of surviving a fire as well as keeping it clean, especially in the roof valleys. Install Covered Gutters that repel debris from accumulating and becoming a firebox waiting for embers to land — vegetation decay loves fuelling fires so keep your gutters cleaned. Install Fire and Ember Safe Vents to protect your home from flying, burning embers from entering your home and burning it from the inside.

Inspect your chimney at least twice a year and get it cleaned at least once a year. Equip the chimney and stovepipe with a spark arrester that meets the requirements of National Fire Protection Association Standard 211. (Contact your local fire department for exact specifications).

Install duel-sensor smoke alarms on each level of your house — especially near any bedrooms. Test them monthly and replace batteries once a year.

Defensible Space

Trees, bushes, and land give us natural privacy as well as a barrier from sounds and wind and give us protection from the sun. The thought of removing any of our precious trees and bushes is hard to accept. But it needs to be done to ensure your home and family’s survival when a wildfire hits. Having a defensible space does not mean you have to remove every tree or bush. Most of the time clearing the area around the tree of overgrown bushes, and ladder fuels will improve your protection, give you more enjoyable land to use, and beautify the area. It is a WIN-WIN situation.

Family and Pets

There are times you should stay and help extinguish fires in and around your home, but when the authorities tell you to evacuate, please follow their advice for your safety. We need more heroes, yes, but your life is more important than objects. Create a disaster supply kit and have a family emergency plan in place. Each member of your family should be taught how to use a fire extinguisher (the ABC type) and know where one is at all times. Have handy fire tools such as a rake, axe, handsaw or chain saw, bucket, and shovel in convenient locations.

If you can afford it and have the space, have a pond, swimming pool, or other types of water supply to dowse the fire, and have a long enough hose to reach every corner of your home. If you can afford it and have the space, have a portable power source to operate your water pump and other power needs.

AGAIN. We understand it is your property at risk, but your life is more important than objects. Please be cautious and weary of your surroundings and where the fire is. Evacuate when told to so you can be with your loved ones when the smoke clears.


How do you survive a wildfire?

Please consult your local area fire protection service on procedures to survive a wildfire before it happens. There is no excuse for not being prepared. You live in the area. It is your responsibility.

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