Preparing Your Home for Wildfires
Making your home resistant to wildfires involves two key steps: 1) Creating defensible space, and 2) Hardening your home. Our February tip covered “creating defensible space.”
Here’s Step Two: Homes ignite from contact with flames or embers. Flying embers can destroy homes up to a mile ahead of the wildfire. Home hardening involves the selection of ignition-resistant building materials and designs that limit the collection of and entrance of embers into crawl spaces and vents where they can ignite. Take a walk around your home and see where you can make a difference. Connect with neighbors to share referrals for handymen and construction workers as needed.
Why is home hardening important?
Watch Your Home Can Survive a Wildfire to learn about how homes ignite during wildfires and actions you can take to help your home survive the impacts of flames and embers. Credit: Dr. Jack Cohen, Fire Science Researcher, USDA Forest Service, National Fire Protection Association.
How to harden your home
- Install ember-resistant vents to prevent embers from entering homes. Watch this terrific how-to video from a Portola Valley resident.
- Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire mesh to prevent debris and combustible materials from accumulating.
- Enclose eaves to prevent embers from entering.
- Use non-combustible roofing materials.
- Use non-combustible materials for decks, gates, fences, and siding.
- Use non-combustible materials for all structures attached to homes, including fences and gates.
- Install multi-pane tempered glass windows and skylights.
Quick Tip: Pre-set your car radio to AM1680, Portola Valley’s emergency broadcast station, to hear local updates and any emergency instructions. This takes all of 30 seconds. Quick indeed! Test it out from time to time as you drive around town. You can also stream this radio station via the internet. Try it now.
Stay informed and stay involved
Download the Town PV Connect app. Report downed trees, storm damage, and vegetation of concern to keep our roads and trails clear of fire materials and to enable safe passage for emergency vehicles.
All of 2020 Tips
January 2020 Let's make 2020 our year to be ready
February 2020 Preparing your home for wildfires- Step 1
March 2020 Preparing your home for wildfires - Step 2