According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 9,326,238 acres of land were affected by 67,774 wildfires in 2012. The effects of wildfire are devastating to communities and the environment. It’s also disastrous to your home insurance rates if you are in a wildfire-prone area. Taking every step that you can to avoid wildfire damage is essential to keeping your premiums low. You might not be able to avoid every wildfire-related issue, but safety measures will cut down on the easily avoidable claims.
Focus on the Home Ignition Zone. This is an area that includes your house and the area immediately surrounding it. When you have a great deal of trees, foliage and other extremely flammable objects within this zone, it’s easier for the wildfire to reach your home. Making your defensible space as fireproof as possible cuts down on the wildfire’s ability to directly reach your home. A few ways to do that include:
- Remove all debris from your roof and gutters. A gutter full of dried pine leaves is an excellent ignition source for a wildfire.
- Keep firewood out of the immediate area around your house.
- Clear out any trees and brush within 30 feet of your home.
- Check your grass levels. You want grass as short as possible without it becoming dead or unhealthy.
- Prune lower tree branches.
Another thing that affects the ignition zone is how ignitable the materials used to build your home are. If you’re in a wildfire-prone location, use fire-resistant materials whenever possible in the construction and renovation of your home. The area immediately surrounding your home should be clear of highly flammable objects.
Provide easy access to your home so firefighters can reach it in case of an emergency. If you have a long, narrow driveway in the middle of the woods, keep it in good repair, and cut back the trees from either side. You don’t want emergency crews watching your house go up in flames because they can’t fit the firetruck through.
Focus on using rocks or stones for landscaping near your house. This provides a firebreak and reduces the amount of fuel available for a wildfire to use.
Call 800-878-7105 to discuss your natural disaster and Oklahoma City home insurance options today.