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Five things you can do this weekend to help protect your home from wildfire

One of the most important tasks for wildfire preparedness is clearing the roof of debris. UC ANR photo

Despite recent rains, fire remains a danger across California, as there's still plenty of time this fall for grass, woody debris and other flammable material to become dry and ignite.

“The smaller the fuels – pine needles, grass, and small twigs – the faster they can dry out, meaning they will be ready to burn again a few days or weeks after a large rainstorm,” said Susie Kocher, a UC Cooperative Extension forestry and natural resources advisor for the Central Sierra, urging residents to take steps to prevent or limit potential fire damage.

Upgrading, bolstering or cleaning these elements on a house will substantially reduce potential damage from fire. Learn more at ucanr.edu/sites/fire/Prepare. UC ANR graphic

When it comes to “home hardening” and essential wildfire preparations in this age of drought and climate change, not every project requires a bank-breaking budget and an army of contractors.

There are small – but significant – home and landscaping improvements that most people can complete by themselves during a single weekend, with a quick run to the hardware store and some basic planning and safety precautions.

“There are a lot of factors that play into your home's vulnerability to ignition; small changes and upgrades can help reduce some of that risk for people living in high wildfire risk areas,” Kocher explained. “The bigger projects like replacing windows and roofs are very important, but there are definitely smaller projects that people can tackle right away at lower cost that also reduce risk. The main goal of these actions is to reduce the risk that wildfire embers can ignite your home.”

Kocher recommends these five measures as simple but crucial ways to bolster your home's wildfire resiliency.

Decks can be made more fire-resistant by making repairs, cleaning debris from gaps and removing flammable items. UC ANR graphic

Clean debris from your roof. Because of its expansive surface, the roof is the most susceptible area of your house to embers. Removing accumulated leaves and needles is especially important if you have a “complex roof” with dormers or other elements – that's where embers gather, too, and could come in contact with flammable siding. (And while you're up there, give those gutters a good swabbing.) Learn more about protecting your roof and gutters.

Install metal flashing in vulnerable spots. Replacing all your siding with noncombustible material can be pricey, but a more manageable task would be adding corrosion-resistant metal flashing to select areas: roof-to-wall intersections, the place where the chimney comes out of the roof, and the edge where the deck meets the house. Learn other ways to shore up your siding.

Remove debris from between the boards of your deck and fence. Embers can ignite leaves and needles stuck between the boards, so be sure to keep those gaps clean and clear. Learn additional steps to harden your deck and prepare your fence.

Take out all vegetation (alive or dead) within five feet of your home. Creating defensible space immediately next to your home is a top priority, so be sure there's nothing combustible within this “Zone Zero.” Plants, mulch, woodpiles, wicker furniture or anything that can catch fire should be removed. Learn what to do in the other “zones” as you move farther from your home. 

Inspect vents and upgrade to finer mesh screens. Install or swap in noncombustible, corrosion-resistant metal mesh screening that is at least 1/8” (1/16” would be even better but requires more frequent maintenance). These screens help prevent embers from entering your attic and crawl space. In addition, put together some vent covers that can be deployed if you have time before a wildfire arrives. Learn other ways to reduce vulnerability of vents.

For more in-depth explanations and next steps, Kocher suggests visiting the UC ANR wildfire website (https://ucanr.edu/sites/fire/Prepare) and reviewing this home retrofit guide (https://bit.ly/3RaL54u).

Posted on Wednesday, September 28, 2022 at 9:25 AM
Tags: disaster (1), fire (15), fuels (1), home hardening (1), house (1), mitigation (2), preparation (2), preparedness (1), Susie Kocher (28), wildfire (167), zero zone (1), zone zero (1)
Focus Area Tags: Environment, Natural Resources, Yard & Garden

Wreath Workshop 2012

The Wreath Workshop is a month away and Solano County Master Gardeners have been gearing up for this event since September. Ribbon has been purchased in assorted colors and spray paint that will blend and match has been chosen. Wreath forms and paddle wire have been ordered. The date is December 1st from 1PM to 4PM at the Carriage House on the Buck Mansion Estate in Vacaville, (225 Buck Avenue). Sign-ups are happening now.

A spray day was held to color dried items such as agapanthus, hydrangeas, seeds, pods and pine cones. These items will be available at the workshop to place in wreaths as decorations. Fruits such as lemons, limes, oranges, and quince will be dried to use as unique additions. Those making wreaths can bring their own decorations from home to personalize their wreath. There will be a table set-up and supported by Master Gardeners, who will be creating bows in assorted sizes and colors. If any participant needs assistance with their wreath, a Master Gardener will be available to help or give suggestions.

By the time the workshop arrives, the Master Gardeners have spent several days cutting and collecting greenery so the public will be able to create their own wreath. The greens will be packed into “banana boxes” and each participant will have a full box, a wreath frame and paddle wire. The decoration table will hold an assortment of dried flowers, fruits, and pods ready for embellishing. The “bow table” will have ready-made bows and custom-made bows will be available.

The kitchen will be filled with holiday goodies and drinks, providing lunch for all. Master Gardeners are known for their delicious appetizers and Christmas treats.

Master Gardeners will be showing up at the Carriage House at 10AM to set up and prepare for this yearly event. The wreath workshop of 2012 promises to be a fun-filled, fantastic event for all as it kicks off the 2012 holiday season.

 

 

MGs prepping the greens. (photos by Jennifer Baumbach)
MGs prepping the greens. (photos by Jennifer Baumbach)

A wreath with breath of heaven, redwood and sage.
A wreath with breath of heaven, redwood and sage.

Heavenly bamboo, redwood, Calamagrostis flowers, artichoke flower wreath.
Heavenly bamboo, redwood, Calamagrostis flowers, artichoke flower wreath.

A wreath maker with her finished product.
A wreath maker with her finished product.

Posted on Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 10:53 AM

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