• Homes are much more likely to burn due to small flying embers than to contact by large flames.
  • Pushed by wind, embers often get inside attic vents and ignite homes from the inside. Sometimes those fires aren’t visible from outside for hours after the main fire passes.
  • The single most important, and least expensive, way to save your home is to cover all its vents with metal mesh with openings of 1/8” or less.
  • Gutters and roof valleys full of dead leaves and debris are major culprits for carrying fire through to sub-roofing material, which may be flammable. Keep ‘em clean!
  • The roof is the most vulnerable part of your home. If you have a wood shake roof, replace it as soon as you can! If it’s damaged, repair it in the same time frame.
  • Firefighters’ rule of thumb is that if more than 1/4 of a roof is in flames, the home cannot be saved. Don’t let your roof catch on fire!
  • It is safer to stay inside your home during a wildfire than to be caught in your car. Don’t try to evacuate if there’s a risk of not making it to safety.
  • If you start to evacuate and see that your route is blocked, return home, shut all windows, doors, and vents, and stay inside until the fire passes.
  • Similarly, it is safer to stay in your car than to be on foot. Never try to outrun a wildfire; you won’t win!
  • Most of the people who have died in wildfires were trying to evacuate but left too late, or were caught in accidents or traffic jams.
  • Even a home with wood siding can provide temporary shelter against heat and flames. How? Because it takes high sustained heat to ignite wood, as with a log in a fireplace.
  • Experiments have shown that the same heat that causes second-degree burns on human skin in 5 seconds will take 27 minutes to ignite a wood wall.
  • Wildfires move very quickly. Their heat is intense, but lasts only 1 or 2 minutes in one place – much less than 27.
  • Large tree trunks close to a house are not a major fire hazard. Think how long it would take a green log in your wood stove to ignite!
  • Truly hazardous are little things that ignite quickly, then act as kindling to catch larger objects on fire, like weeds, leaves, twigs, un-pruned bushes, doormats, and brooms. What’s true in a fireplace is true in a wildfire.
  • Areas under decks and porches are vulnerable. Either remove all flammable items or screen in these areas with metal mesh 1/8” or less.
  • The area within 5 feet of your foundation and walls is critical to your home’s survival. Keep it free of all flammable materials except small irrigated plants.
  • Dual-pane or tempered glass windows resist cracking from heat. Install these if you can. Keep flammable materials far, far away from single-pane windows, especially large ones.
  • 90% of homes that ignite in wildfires burn to the ground, usually because no one saw the fires inside their attics.
  • Losing your home can cause major life disruption for a year or more – a cost insurance doesn’t cover.    Don’t let it happen to you.  Be fire safe, and live!

For more information, visit www.firewise.org, www.firelab.org; or contact the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council, firesafe@pacific.net.