The austere beauty of the desert holds a special allure for many people, but the dramatic landscape requires some accommodations from residents in order to co-exist peacefully with the landscape. With the low humidity, dry, sometimes fierce, winds, and extreme temperatures, wildfires are a major concern. The desert dweller has a number of ways to protect their home and help with fire damage prevention.
Landscaping choices are perhaps the most important weapon in the fire prevention arsenal. A buffer zone of at least 30 feet on all sides should surround the house and any outbuildings. Plants and shrubs within the buffer zone should be minimal, and need to be carefully maintained to remove dead branches and old dried growth. Native plants adapted to the dry conditions are an excellent choice, but even these must be meticulously maintained to remove dead portions. Planting next to buildings is unwise.
Flammable items like firewood or construction materials should be stored outside the buffer zone. At the very least, they should be stored in a shed at the perimeter of the zone.
Gutters should be frequently cleaned. During fire season, keep a hose long enough to reach the entire buffer zone hooked up and ready to go. If there is a fire emergency, the prepared homeowner can hose down the roof and plantings to prevent fire damage.
Using a humidifier inside the home will not only increase personal comfort, but can also help with fire prevention. Dry desert conditions are hard on building materials, particularly wood. Keeping the interior a bit moister helps protect the home and furnishings from drying out.
It’s important to use any form of fire carefully in the desert environment. Smokers need to use ashtrays for both ashes and butts. Flicking a cigarette onto the ground can rapidly start a wildfire. When finished smoking, the cigarette should be carefully extinguished in the ashtray rather than haphazardly discarded. Candles also need to be closely monitored to prevent tipping or blowing sparks.
For homes with a fireplace or wood-burning stove, a mesh chimney cap is essential. These caps prevent embers and sparks from exiting through the chimney, and also keep birds and animals from entering.
Limit use of barbeque grills in the peak summer months, and keep water at the ready. Campfires and fireworks should be avoided. With these small changes, the homeowner can help prevent fire damage to their desert oasis.
Additionally, keeping the eves or overhangs closed will minimize flames from spreading quickly up the roofline if fire were to reach the side of a home. This can be helped by adding a horizontal fire-resistant or fire proof layer under the eave like a hardy board with vents every 4 to 8 feet.
If you do have fire damage do not worry, help is just a phone call away. Dry Express Restoration specializes in fire damage restoration and construction services. We can help assess the damage, clean the contents, secure the structure, remove the smoke odor and soot, and bring your home back to pre-existing condition. Call us today! 619.597.2003