15 tips to protect your home from wildfire

Date June 17, 2021

Did you know that every year in Canada, wildfires destroy an average of 25,000 square kilometres – an area greater than Nova Scotia? With nearly two-thirds of all Canadian communities located close to forests and grasslands, millions of Canadians are at risk. Maybe even you.

The good news is, there are easy and inexpensive steps you can take to reduce the risk of wildfire damaging your home.

FireSmart Canada and the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo have developed tips for every budget to help protect homes from the risk of wildfire.

For those short on time and money

  1. Remove leaves, tree needles and other debris from your roof, gutters and deck. Clean your vents.
  2. Remove combustible materials (firewood and lumber) stored within 10 metres of your house. Don’t store combustible materials under your deck.
  3. Mow your lawn to less than 10 centimetres and plant low-growing, well-spaced shrubs and other vegetation.
Remove all combustible ground cover (mulch and plants) within 1.5 metres of your home by sweeping or raking the area down to mineral soil, rock or concrete.
Prune trees to create a 2-metre clearance from the ground to the lowest tree branches.

For those with a little more time and money (up to $3,000)

  1. Install non-combustible fencing within 1.5 metres of the house (e.g. cement fiber, metal, chain link or stone).
  2. Create a 15 centimetres ground-to-siding non-combustible clearance (e.g. install cement board or metal skirting).
Install non-combustible ground surfaces within 1.5 metres of the house (e.g. mineral soil, rock, concrete or stone).
Replace worn or missing weather stripping on all doors, including garage doors.Add a non-combustible 3 mm screen on all external vents (except dryer vents).

For those undertaking major renovations with a bigger budget (up to $30,000)

  1. Install non-combustible siding (e.g. stucco, metal, stone or cement fibre board).
Install multi-pane or tempered glass windows and exterior fire rated doors.Remove conifer trees that are within 10 metres of your house.
Install a Class A fire-resistant roof covering (e.g. cement fibre, metal or asphalt shingles).Retrofit all deck components to be fire-rated and with a continuous surface.

Download the FireSmart Begins at Home app for more great info, including FireSmart building materials if you’re building or renovating a home. You can find the app on the App Store and Google Play .

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