747 Super Tanker can carry 19,600 gallons of fire retardant. Photo Courtesy of KPIX-TV

Our hearts go out to everyone impacted by the north bay wildfires. Massive swaths of Santa Rosa decimated within hours.  Countless numbers of residents now homeless.  Other evacuees, anxiously praying for a home to return to. October, with its notorious Santa Ana winds, is upon us. Below are tips for keeping your property and family as safe as possible from fire damage.

Keeping Property Safe – What We Can Do

We can’t outrun Mother Nature.   But, there are actions we can take to blunt her effects. Example. It was impossible to stop the fire’s path of destruction on Sunday with 50 MPH winds.  But, we can minimize danger by creating a buffer between trees and structures. 

The Cal fire website is loaded with educational materials on fire prevention.

They advise on creating a “defensible space” around your home or building.  This is the best protection from the ravages of fire. 

Secondarily, they suggest replacing highly flammable plants with those known to be more fire retardant.

Summary of Cal Fire’s Ready Set Go Action Planner.

Minimize nearby plants and create a buffer zone

Zone 1 – Priority – Create a 30 foot buffer between your structure and any nearby wildlife by
Trim all nearby tree canopies, remove leaf litter, and all vegetation near windows
Cutting back low level flammable vegetation that can ignite a nearby tree

Zone 2 – Create a 30 to 100 feet buffer
Remove what Cal fire terms “ladder fuels” including low level grasses and other debris

Secondary Actions to Safeguard your Property
Cal Fire has a list of the most fire retardant construction materials
They recommend touring a fire-ready home
Included are details on advance planning for evacuation and a checklist

Check out their handy infographic with tips on one page.

Stay safe.