Arizona wildfires: Your guide to preparing your home, property
With wildfire season on Arizona's doorstep, it is a good time for Arizona residents to begin preparing their homes and properties to reduce wildfire risk.
Generally, remember to remove potential fuel sources, reduce the ability for your landscaping to contribute to fire, replace anything that is not fire season appropriate and relocate any items that are combustible.
Here's a checklist of items to complete before wildfire season.
Clean out dead vegetation from your property. The U.S. Forest Service Coronado Forest recommends cleaning pine needles, dead leaves and anything else flammable from roofs, gutters, decks, porches, patios and fence lines.
Make sure your plants don't become wildfire fuel. Trim back shrubs and any plants that are within five feet of the house. Flowerbeds should be at least five feet from the house, according to the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension.
Don't forget about flower boxes. Remove flower boxes from beneath windows.
Trim your trees. The National Fire Protection Association recommends pruning branches of large trees up to 6 to 10 feet, depending on the height of the tree, as well as removing plants that contain resins, oils and waxes.
Water your plants before evacuating. Rake out landscaping mulch to at least five feet from the house, and water lawns and plants before evacuating.
Seal your vents. If a wildfire is nearby, seal or screen any openings such as vents, as embers spread by the wind can be enter the home through little openings.
The University of Arizona Cooperative Extension recommends covering all exterior vents with 1/8-inch corrosion-resistant wire mesh.
Check your roof. The National Fire Protection Association also recommends replacing or repairing loose or missing roof tiles to prevent wind-born embers from entering the home.
Also, fill gaps in siding with caulk, making sure to include a six-inch separation between the ground and the start of the siding.
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Keep fuel sources away from your home. Remove anything flammable and store it more than 30 feet from the home. This includes propane tanks, BBQ grills and patio furniture.
Don't forget your outdoor living areas. Avoid storing flammable materials on or under decks or porches.Clean out dead vegetation from your property. Make sure your plants don't become wildfire fuel. Trim your trees. Water your plants before evacuating. Seal your vents. Check your roof. Wildfires are a part of life in Arizona: Keep fuel sources away from your home. Don't forget your outdoor living areas.