As wildfires continue to rage in Arizona and Florida, every state in the country now has the potential for a wildfire. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, nearly every state in the U.S. has already experienced a wildfire this year.
Wildfires during the first five months of this year have burned 3.2 million acres, due to soon surpass the 3.4 million acres of land and property that burned during all of last year.
Wildfires are a serious risk to life and property throughout the United States and Canada. As the weather becomes hot and dry, so is the increased potential for wildfires.[ Also Read: Disney Ads Say Only You Can Prevent Wildfires ]
One of the most important steps to reduce wildfire damage is to clear and maintain a defensible space around your home and structures. Clearing or trimming vegetation reduces the chance of fire damage and provides a safety zone for firefighters.
Here are some easy ways to create a defensible space:
- Remove dead shrubs, dried grass, fallen branches and dried leaves 30 – 100 feet around your house.
- Keep trees and shrubs properly thinned and pruned within the defensible space.
- Remove ladder fuels – plants, low branches, and fire wood that let a fire on the ground climb into the trees.
- Clear five feet around the base of the house and fill the space with fire resistant plants or materials such as rocks or gravel.
- Take care of the clean, open space around your home on a regular basis by raking up pine needles and removing downed branches or trees.
- Keep your roof and gutters clear of debris and remove overhanging branches.
- Keep grass and weeds mowed at a low height.
In addition to protecting your home, review your homeowner’s insurance coverage with your agent, especially if you have made recent changes to your property.
Insuring your property to at least 100 % of its estimated replacement cost affords the greatest protection to the policyholder in the event of a loss. Remember to document your belongings by creating a home inventory. An accurate inventory and proof of ownership can make your claim settlement easier and faster.
The Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) provides regional information on wildfire risks and ways to reduce loss to your home and business. State Farm is a supporter and member company of IBHS.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Firewise Communities program also educates the public about taking action to reduce wildfire damage.