Utah’s 2020 wildfire season: How to protect your home and prepare for the worse

Utah Wildfires

What you can do to protect your home from a wildfire

The Traverse Fire burns behind homes in Lehi, Utah, Sunday, June 28, 2020. Officials say fireworks caused the wildfire and forced evacuations early Sunday morning. (Justin Reeves via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Wildfire season in Utah is off to a blazing start. Over the past weekend the state saw 37 new wildfires, including the Knolls Fire in Saratoga Springs which caused hundreds of residents to evacuate their homes. As of July 1st, Utah has had over 530 wildfires. According to Utah Fire info, more than 425 of them were human-caused.

Courtesy: Utah Fire Info

Having your home in close proximity to a wildfire can bring on an uneasy feeling. Nearly 70 percent of Americans say they are concerned about weather-related disasters, but less than half have a disaster plan, and 44 percent say they’re not sure how to prepare for wildfires, that’s according to a recent survey from Allstate Insurance.

Here’s some tips on how make sure your home is wildfire ready:

Maintain Landscaping

It’s important to create a barrier between your home and anything that might burn, says Ready.gov. Keep materials such as firewood, dried leaves, newspapers and any vegetation that can burn in a fire 30 feet away from your house. In addition, anything flammable, such as a propane tank and gas grill, should be kept at least 15 feet away from any structure, Ready.gov says.

It’s also a good idea to work together with your neighbor neighbors to create a safety zone that reaches about 200 feet around your homes. Ready.gov says this may include thinning plants, removing underbrush and trimming trees so their canopies don’t touch.

Once you’ve created buffers with your landscaping, be sure to maintain them.

Consider Additional Wildfire Defense

If and when adding to your landscaping, consider fire-resistant vegetation, Ready.gov says.

While no plants are fireproof, low-growing plants with high moisture content and low sap or resin are typically more fire resistant. Those may include aloe plants, honeysuckle bushes and shrub apples, among others, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE).

If you’re remodeling your home or installing a new roof, opt for fire-resistant materials.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says vinyl siding may pose another hazard in a wildfire. FEMA suggests opting for non-combustible siding made from materials like stucco, brick or concrete, instead of vinyl. Regardless of the material that cover’s your home’s exterior, it’s important to make sure there are no spaces through which embers from a fire might be able to enter, FEMA says.

It’s also important to keep your roof and gutters free from debris that could catch fire, says FEMA.

Provide Easy Access for Firefighters

Ultimately, you can prepare as much as possible to mitigate your risk of wildfire damage. But you may still need to rely on firefighters. You can take some steps to make it easier for them to help you out.

  • Look at your property from the road to make sure your address is visible.
  • If you have gates around your property, check to ensure they swing inward and that the opening is large enough for emergency crews to enter with their equipment.
  • Keep a ladder handy that is long enough to reach your roof. It may help firefighters gain quick access.

Source: CAL Fire

A wildfire can cause devastation to your property. By taking some precautions in the event of a wildfire, you may help defend your home against one.

A few tips, in case you need to evacuate from your home: What to take from your home during an evacuation


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Tracy Smith
Curtis Booker, joined the ABC4 family in January of 2019 as a Digital Content Producer. In May of 2019, he transitioned into learning the inner workings of becoming a news producer assisting with various shows. Curtis most recently rejoined the Digital team as a multi-media journalist in February of 2020.

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