Wildfires are most common after an extended period of dry, hot weather. They spread quickly and cause severe destruction along their path. You are the best judge whether your property is prepared in the event of a wildfire. Much of it has to do with the vegetation nearby, the topography of the landscape, and the materials used to build your home or business. Fire or smoke damage can seriously affect your property and your health. When you’re preparing your home or business for a possible Houston wildfire, consider the following:
It’s safest to keep especially dry or overgrown vegetation at least 30 feet away from the walls or your building. Never allow vines or moss to grow on the exterior of your building and remove any tree limbs that hang within 15 feet of the ground. Dead brush, branches, or other natural debris should be routinely removed and disposed of, especially during the drier, summer weather. These are quick fuel for a spreading wildfire. Mow your lawn regularly and even consider replacing some of the plants on your personal landscape. Highly flammable trees such as pine, eucalyptus, juniper, and fir should probably be replaced.
Also, as with all potential weather damage, make sure you regularly clean leaves and other debris out of your gutters. Because your roof is the most susceptible to wildfire damage, having extra leaves and natural, dry debris at the source will only spell trouble.
If your home or business is located on a hillside, you must take extra precautions. Fires spread much more quickly uphill, so you’ll want to take that 30 feet safety perimeter mentioned above and double it on the downhill side. Also consider the surrounding vegetation and landscape beyond your personal borders. Are you surrounded by grassland? Rock? Shrubbery? Take each of these risks into account when developing your protection plan.
Probably the most crucial step to preventing fire and smoke damage from wildfires is using the right building materials. Use stucco, metal, brick, cement shingles, concrete, rock, or stone. Wood siding can be used if it is properly treated with UL-approved fire retardant chemicals. Though this is an option, it is not a permanent treatment and must be reapplied over time. Add mesh wiring to all vents that lead to the outside of the home or business, as these can trap passing embers or sparks.
Your roof is probably the most important item to consider fire proofing. Use single ply membranes, fiberglass shingles, slate, metal, clay or concrete tiles when designing your roof.
Houston Fire and Smoke Damage Professionals Can Help
When the unthinkable happens, ServiceMaster Advantage is here to help. Our trained technicians can handle the biggest smoke and fire damage jobs out there – including those caused by wildfire. Don’t hesitate to call or contact us online when you need help dealing with destruction caused by a wildfire in the Houston, Texas area!