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Keeping Your Home Safe when Wildfires Threaten

Posted by sarahebordelon on January 25, 2018
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wildfire2.jpgWildfires hit close to home last Monday in Flower Mound, a rare occurrence for this area. A fire at the northeast corner of FM1171 and Highway 377 closed those roads in both directions for several hours before it was extinguished. The Flower Mound fire was one of many wildfires that sprung up in North Texas Monday, fueled by dry and windy conditions, and burning over 2,000 acres.

Although evacuations were ordered in some areas, and news videos showed flames racing toward homes in Parker County, thankfully homes were not damaged. This good news made me wonder … “what can we do to keep our homes safe in the unlikely event they are threatened by wildfires?”

The Texas A & M Forestry Division tells us a proactive approach to wildfire damage prevention, by taking action before a fire occurs, will help. Since fuel for fires consists of trees, plants and even your house, taking steps to make those elements as fireproof as possible will help keep your home safe should a wildfire threaten your area.

wildfire4LANDSCAPING: Firewise landscaping creates a separation between the fire and your home, lowering the intensity of a wildfire as it approaches your home.

  • Mow your lawn regularly.
  • Prune trees 6–10 feet from the ground.
  • Create a spacing of 30 feet between tree crowns.
  • Create a ‘fire-free’ area within 5 feet of your home, using non-flammable landscaping materials.
  • Remove dead vegetation from under the deck and within 10 feet of the house.
  • Water plants, trees and mulch regularly.
  • Consider xeriscaping if you are affected by water restrictions.

YOUR HOME: Reduce your home’s risk to wildfire damage by using non-combustible building materials, keeping your yard free of debris, and take steps to prevent embers from catching your home on fire. Each step you can take here will reduce your risks of damage:

gutters1.jpgRoof and Gutters

  • Use fire-resistant roofing material such as metal, tile or Class A shingles.
  • Inspect for gaps in roofing that can expose roof decking or supports.
  • Install metal gutters and gutter guards to keep debris from accumulating.
  • Place angle flashing over openings between the roof decking and fascia board.

Eaves and Soffits

  • Enclose or box-in eaves with non-combustible materials such as metal, cement board or stucco.
  • Install a metal screen behind roof vents.

Exterior Walls

  • Select heat and fire-resistant siding such as metal, brick, block, stone, cement board or fire retardant treated lumber.
  • Make sure there are no crevices or holes that could catch embers.


  • Install double-paned or tempered-glass windows.
  • Use metal framing or aluminum coverings for wood or vinyl.
  • Use a fiberglass or metal screen.
  • Use drapes and shutters that are fire resistant to help reduce the likelihood of fire spread.


  • Install 1/8-inch metal screening behind vents.
  • Clean vents to keep them free of debris, allowing them to keep embers out while allowing air flow for ventilation.

Decks, Fencing and Skirting

  • Spread gravel or other non-combustible material under the deck.
  • Screen in the bottom of the deck with metal 1/8-inch screening.
  • Separate wooden fences from the house with a stone or metal barrier.
  • Use a non-combustible material for skirting around the foundation

ACCESSIBILITY FOR FIRST RESPONDERS: A quick response to a wildfire is critical for saving your home. Firefighting personnel must be able to quickly locate and safely travel to your home. Emergency responders may not be familiar with your community, so highly visible signs are important to help them find their way.

Street Sign 1Here are a few tips to help improve access to your property:

  • Street signs should be visible from both directions, at least 3 inches tall, made from fire-resistant material, and printed on a contrasting color background. If your street signs don’t fit this criteria, work with your city to get it corrected.
  • Your home should have its own house number and be in numerical order along your street.
  • If your home is set back from the street, post your address at the end of your driveway where it is visible from the street.
  • If multiple homes share a single driveway, post all addresses at the entrance from the street and at each appropriate intersection along the driveway.

Additional Information is available from the Texas A & M Forest Service:

Firewise Landscaping in Texas

Firewise construction

Be Embers Aware

Information about home safety provided by The Seay Group Realty, dedicated to service and exceeding your expectations. Call us today!

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