garden in fall

Preparing for Fire in the Winter Months

While everyone is always thinking about fire preparedness during the height of fire season when wildfires are wreaking havoc and the air is thick with smoke, it is important to prepare for fire in the winter months as well. 

As we have established, home hardening should be happening year-round but here are some things you can do while the trees turn color and the temperatures start to drop. It’s not time to get complacent! Use these upcoming months to prepare for spring and summer and potential fires.


A good thing to do during the colder months is to get together a go-bag. This is a bag you can always keep packed and ready to go in case there is a fire burning nearby that requires you to evacuate quickly. 

Copies of important documents like passports, IDs, and lists of medications are great to have in an evacuation bag. Other things to add to a go-bag include a first aid kit, flashlight with extra batteries, Swiss Army knife or multi-purpose tool, battery-powered or hand-crank radio, extra car and house keys, a phone charger, and some cash or a rarely-used credit card. 

As far as original documents go like home titles, wills or trusts, birth certificates, and physical passports, it’s best to buy a fire-proof safe to keep these in so there is no chance of them getting lost during evacuation. 

If you really want to go full prepper, you can pack non-perishable foods, gallons of water, and camping equipment. However, odds are that even if you’re evacuated from your home, there will be grocery stores, hotels, fast food chains, and restaurants that will be accessible, but it’s always good to be extra prepared!

We like these Judy evacuation bags if you want to spend the money!

Evacuation Routes

In the event that you are evacuated, it’s smart to know where to go. Do you have friends or family nearby? Communicate with everyone about a meeting spot and map out how to get there. 

Consider that some roads out of your neighborhood may be closed so include all the routes you can use to leave. A printed, physically marked map is a good idea as there may not be phone service if towers are down and power is out. 

Determine Defensible Space

The first five feet around your home is critical when a fire is burning nearby. Establishing defensible space during the colder months will mean less work when spring comes around.

To learn more about what you need to do to create defensible space, go here.

Schedule LTR

A good way to prepare for next year’s fire season is to schedule a long-term fire retardant (LTR) application. We use Phos-Chek Fortify, a safe and effective way to render the vegetation and flammable objects around your home non-flammable.

Scheduling LTR application in the winter months is best as we get backed up during fire season! Phos-Chek Fortify stays effective for at least six months or until super heavy rains. 

Hardening Structures

Preparing your home or business during the colder months is the best way you can prepare for next year’s fire season. That means making sure you have fire-safe, closing vents on all your vents, gutter guards to block debris from building up, and installing roof sprinklers.

While some of these hardening tactics are possible for you to do yourself, some require a professional, which is where Ember Defense comes in. 

Schedule an evaluation today and we can help you figure out what your home or business needs to be more protected from fire. 

Check Your Insurance

The winter is a great time to check in with your insurance policy to see what it covers, especially in the case of wildfire. Some policies cover personal belongings damaged in fire, some do not. Some plans offer stipends for living expenses in case of evacuation, some do not. This is a good time to check what your plan includes!

Another good thing to do to prepare for fire during the winter is to take account of all the valuable things in your home including priceless furniture, jewelry, and vehicles that you may not be able to bring if you’re evacuated. Listing and taking photos of personal items that may be lost in a fire will make it easier to submit claims to insurance if you need to. 

If you would like some guidance, we can also help you find the right coverage through Heffernan Insurance Brokerage. Learn more here.

Ember Defense

We can help you prepare for next year’s fire season. In fact, it is best if we help you during the winter months since things get hectic when fires are burning! It’s best to be prepared and proactive to protect your property from fire danger, and that means following these tips during the winter months.

Let us come out and advise you on how you can best protect your home and family from wildfire danger now that the weather is getting colder. Learn more about our home-hardening package here and sign up or call for an evaluation.