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Posted April 20, 2017 | 11:52 AM

Keep Your Home from Being a Hot Spot for Wildfires

Each year, wildfires destroy thousands of acres and many homes across the country. These fires spread quickly, and embers can be blown more than a mile from the flames. In Hillsborough County, the danger typically peaks when temperatures warm up and weather conditions are dry.

A few simple steps before fire season can help protect your home and property from damage.

Remove fuels that can lead flames to your home or that can be ignited by windblown embers, including:

  • Dead grass, leaves, twigs, and branches within 30 feet of buildings
  • Dry leaf/pine litter from roofs, rain gutters, decks, and walkways
  • Dead and dry litter at the base of plants
  • Tree branches growing within 6-10 feet of the ground
  • Firewood within 30 feet of buildings
  • Continuous beds of combustible vegetation (on the ground or in tree tops) that can bring large flames within 100 feet of your home

Plant species that retain moisture and resist ignition, including:

  • Native, fire-resistant vegetation (check with Hillsborough County Extension Service
  • Place other trees and shrubs away from your home and far enough apart that they won't ignite one another

Maintain

  • A lean, clean, and green landscape at least 30 feet around buildings
  • A legible and clearly marked street number for emergency responders
  • Storage sheds containing items including lawn mowers, grills/gas cans, and tanks away from the home

Install metal screening that blocks embers from entering structures, including:

  • Noncombustible 1/8 inch on attic/crawl space vents, and around low decks
  • Noncombustible (metal, etc.) skirting around mobile homes

Identify an emergency water supply within 1,000 feet of your home, such as:

  • A community water/hydrant system
  • Drafting site on a lake
  • Cooperative emergency storage tank with neighbors
  • Swimming pool

Other actions you can take:

  • Do not burn vegetation without following local requirements.
  • Dispose of cigarette butts properly.
  • Pick up light-refracting metal items, such as soda cans, that can spark a fire.
  • Don't park vehicles over high grass that could come into contact with hot engines and other components.
  • Stay informed of danger by signing up for HCFL Alert, Hillsborough County's official notification system for emergency and important messages.

*Adapted from material provided by the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)

Photo Information: Remove fuels like dead leaves that can lead flames to your home or that can be ignited by windblown embers.


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