FIRE HARDENED means your home is prepared for wildfire and an ember storm. It does not mean fireproof. Home hardening addresses the most vulnerable components of your house with building materials and installation techniques that increase resistance to heat, flames, and embers that accompany most wildfires.
Learning to live with wildfire includes taking steps to reduce the risk to homes. Homes built to modern (2008 or later) building codes, with an adjacent and well-maintained defensible space, have a much better chance of surviving wildfire.
Maintenance and upgrades to older homes can significantly improve the chance of your home surviving a fire. Part of learning to live with wildfire is understanding that we have some control in how we prepare for and address this hazard, and how we manage fire in our individual communities. This brochure can help you better understand options for hardening your home and where to find more information.
WE’VE LEARNED FROM RECENT FIRES. HARDENING YOUR HOME and keeping the 5 feet closest to your house clear of flammable materials (including patio furniture and décor) greatly improves its chance of surviving a fire. Maintaining defensible space is the law within 100 feet of a home in wildfire-prone areas, and highly recommended elsewhere. If a garage, shed, your neighbor’s house, or the property line is closer than 100 feet, it is especially important to harden your home to reduce vulnerability to radiant heat and to work together with your neighbors to reduce risk—a great way to build community while protecting assets. See the California Fire Safe Council, Defensible Space brochure for more information.
KEY ELEMENTS OF DEFENSIBLE SPACE
✔ Keep your gutters and roofs clear of leaves and debris.
✔ Maintain a 5-foot noncombustible zone around your home and deck.
✔ Break up fuel by creating space between plants, and between the ground and the branches of trees.
✔ Mow grass to a height of 4 inches.
✔ Keep mulch away from the house. Bark mulch helps plants retain water but ignites and becomes flying embers during a wind-driven fire.
✔ During a wildfire move anything burnable—such as patio furniture or gas BBQ tanks—30 feet away from structures.