by Robert Sieben
Once a major wildfire is burning, it’s too late for fire prevention and sometimes beyond the efforts of firefighters. That’s why the most important person preventing a house from burning is the homeowner, who can provide critical protection in advance.
If you live in an area threatened by wildfires, here are the most important steps you can take to preserve your home.
• Install an automatic gas shut off valve.
• Ember-proof your home.
• Keep decks clear.
• Create and maintain a non-ignition zone adjacent to your house.
• Remove junipers from your property.
• Take advantage of the wet season for vegetation
• Provide both vertical and horizontal spacing between plants and trees.
You fire insurance will not replace the time, anguish, valued personal items, or loss of community that occurs when your house burns down. The Homeowners Guide to Fire Prevention provides information that may save your home.
About the Author
Robert Sieben has been the volunteer coordinator of fire prevention for his homeowners association since 1998. He is a physician with no prior experience in fire prevention who built a townhouse in Oakland after the firestorm. The guidelines in his book represent what he has learned from thousands of hours of hands-on experience managing fire-prone vegetation on the large undeveloped portion of the homeowner association property. He served four terms on the Advisory Committee of the Oakland Wildfire Prevention Assessment District (WPAD), which he chaired, and also served on the North Hills Community Association, chairing its fire prevention committee. He has attended meetings of the Diablo Fire Safe Council and the National Wildlands Interface Council.