Wildfire season: 7 ways you can help save lives and property

Homeowners living within a mile of forests or any fire-prone landscape – public or private, rural or urban – can take simple preventive steps to limit damage from wildfires. Here are seven ways to help your community become "fire adapted" and contain rising fire-control costs.

6. Continue to educate your family, neighbors, and community

Nick Ut/AP
Flames from a wildfire burn a hillside in the Los Padres National Forest near Santa Barbara, Calif., on May 28, 2013. The Institute for Business and Home Safety recommends addressing landscaping and vegetation vulnerabilities through maintenance and structural improvements.

“Wildfire research has shown that individuals and families can protect their properties against wildfires by addressing three clear sources of vulnerability: the home or business itself, the landscaping near a building, and the general vegetation in the area surrounding the building. Each of these sources can be dealt with through maintenance, structural improvements, and vegetation control. Many of these projects are affordable and can be done in a weekend.”

That’s sound advice from the Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). For detailed checklists for protecting your home from wildfire – such as installing fine-mesh metal screens on all attic and foundation vents to block wind-blown hot embers – IBHS provides nine online guides for central U.S., Florida, Great Lakes, Midatlantic/Northeast, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountain, southern California, Southeast, and Southwest. 

Finally, remember that if your home catches fire and that fire starts a wildfire, you could be held responsible for paying the full cost of extinguishing the wildfire.

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