Hardening Your Home
Yes, it’s winter and hardly the height of wildfire season. But after one of the worst fire seasons on record, now is the time to think about ways to prepare your property for next year. Firefighters call it ‘hardening your home.
Roof. Your roof is the most vulnerable part of your home. It should be composition shingle, metal or tile. Block any spaces between roof decking (the plywood) and covering to prevent embers from catching the roof on fire.
Gutters. Keep rain gutters clear of plant debris or enclose the gutters.
Chimneys & Vents. Cover your chimney & stove pipe outlets with ⅜- to ½-inch metal screen and all vent openings with ⅛- to 1/16-inch metal mesh.
Windows. Heat from a wildfire can cause windows to break even before the home is on fire. Single-pane and large windows are particularly vulnerable. Consider adding a second pane of tempered glass to reduce the chance of breakage.
Exterior Walls. Wood products are flammable and not the best choices. Consider ignition-resistant building materials like stone, stucco, fiber cement siding or fire retardant treated wood as alternatives and be sure to extend the materials from the foundation to the roof.
Decks. Surfaces connected to or within 10 feet of the building should be built with non-combustible materials. Remove wood furniture & stored firewood from decks if a fire is imminent.
Driveway. Consider trimming trees & clearing brush a minimum of 10 feet on either side of your drive to ensure emergency vehicles can access your home. Also, be sure your address is visible from the road.
Lot. Clear trees & shrubs near your home and thin trees that are within 100 feet of your residence in accordance with Colorado Forest Service recommendations.