June 2018 Preparedness Checklist: Hardening Your Home Against Wildfires

June 2018 Preparedness Checklist: Hardening Your Home Against Wildfires


From our Disaster Preparedness Program coordinator Sheryl Gerety (sheryl.gerety@gmail.com): a monthly, seasonally appropriate checklist page to help us tackle preparing for a disaster in manageable steps.

Wildfire season is ramping up here on the Pacific coast. Whether you live outside the city limits or under an urban tree canopy, be ready to take the steps below as they make sense for your home and lives.

Defensible space

  • remove all flammable vegetation within 30 feet of structures
  • remove all tree branches up to at least six feet from the ground at least 70 feet out
  • water landscape regularly
  • clear dead wood, leaves and needles
  • no woodpiles within the 30 foot zone around structures
  • gas and propane tanks no closer than 10 feet from your home


  • install and maintain a fire resistant roof
  • remove dead leaves/needles from roof and gutters
  • prune away any dead branches overhanging your roof and from within 10 feet of chimneys and stove pipes
  • cover chimney and stove pipe openings with nonflammable screen of 1/2 inch or smaller mesh


  • post street name signs at every intersection
  • house numbers minimum 3 inches tall and in sharp contrast to background

Emergency Water

  • water/hydrant system, an emergency storage tank maintained by neighbors, a pond or pool of at least 2,500 gallons
  • easy access for fire fighters
  • generator to power a pump if lines have been downed


  • ignition resistant construction includes fire restart materials enclosing undersides of eaves, balconies and above ground decks
  • consider residential sprinklers
  • maintain your electric service lines, circuit breaker and fuse panels to code


  • choose tools that are not prone to spark (string trimmers rather than lawn mowers)
  • maintain vehicles, tools and equipment to prevent sparking

Make a plan:

  • two evacuation routes, practice both
  • go bag and vehicle emergency kit
  • be alert

What we are reading: