bridge during a fire

Preparing for the 2021 Fire Season

The 2020 wildfire season in California was the worst the state has ever seen – and, according to CNN, things could get even worse this year.

With record-breaking temperatures that reached 130 degrees Fahrenheit in 2020, the environment was just right for wildfires, which consumed more than 4.2 acres of land that year alone. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reports that the wildfire season has started earlier and ended later in California each year, extending the season by approximately 75 days.

Governor Gavin Newsom has devoted $536 million toward funding fire prevention projects, but the situation for California is already looking dire. The U.S. Drought Monitor reports that 91% of California is currently experiencing a drought.

While the state funding will help to buy equipment, create defensible spaces, and implement vegetation management projects, homeowners will also need to take additional steps to protect their homes. Now is the time to invest in home hardening measures, especially given that this year’s wildfire season could be even worse than the last.

Top Home Hardening Tips for California Homeowners

With the prospect of increased wildfires in 2021, California homeowners can take multiple steps to protect their homes in case local fires do occur. Implementing the following improvements in and around your home may help to save it.

Create Defensible Space

Protecting your home starts with creating a defensible space around it. “Defensible space” typically refers to the area from your fence line to your house. If embers land in that space, they can ignite flammable materials, rapidly setting your home on fire.

In creating a defensible space, your goal is to eliminate any sort of fuels and combustible materials that are commonly found in this area. Look for and remove:

  • Fire-prone vegetation
  • Woodpiles
  • Patio furniture
  • Dry leaves
  • Pine needles

You’ll want to focus strongly on the space that extends five feet out from your home since this area can cause fire to promptly reach your home.

Apply Phos-Chek® Fortify

Phos-Chek® Fortify is a hydrogel fire retardant that can be applied around your home on vegetation, decks, fences, and more. Environmentally friendly and lasting all season long, this fire retardant can help protect the plants and material that you can’t or don’t want to remove when you are creating defensible space.

Phos-Chek® Fortify can also be applied during a fire as long as the area is not under mandatory evacuation. Phos-Chek® Fortify is applied using standard equipment that Ember Defense and FireGuard Prevention Services operate.

Install Vulcan Vents

Wildfire embers can travel miles and get into your home through your attic and crawlspace vents, igniting a fire. Retrofitting your normal attic or crawl space vents with Vulcan Vents creates an additional layer of safety against dangerous embers.

Vulcan Vents open and let air move through for ventilation, but when they detect heat from a fire, the screen coating swells the vents shut, keeping heat, embers, and flames out. Preventing embers from entering your house can help to protect it during a fire, reducing the chance of ignition.

Invest in Valor Gutter Guards

Traditional gutters tend to fill up with debris, and if embers land in those gutters, that debris can ignite, catching your home on fire. Placing Valor Gutter Guards over your existing gutters can help to prevent this dangerous debris buildup.

Valor Gutter Guards feature an S-curve design and micro-mesh technology that help to block debris. The guards move water away from your home, helping to also prevent rot while protecting your foundation. These guards help to save you time in cleaning your gutters, ensuring that you don’t have to deal with clogs that can damage your home and create a fire risk.

Install Roof Sprinklers 

Roof sprinklers can defend your home against fire even when you’re not there. Options like the WASP Wildfire Protection Kit install in just minutes, and they can be turned on and left running when you evacuate. The system works to saturate your home and the surrounding landscaping, and a convenient garden hose hookup means there’s no expensive plumbing to worry about.

Other options like the waveGUARD System are self-activated and autonomous running on its own water supply. This system creates a wave of water and fire retardant, saturating both your roof and a perimeter around your home.

Revisit Your Fire Insurance

Before this year’s fire season, revisit your fire insurance to make sure you have appropriate and adequate coverage. Call your insurer and ask for details about what your policy covers, what your policy limits are, and what personal items would be covered by insurance. You may want to upgrade your policy, or you may want to shop around to see if you can find better coverage with another insurer.

If you aren’t satisfied with your coverage, we can help connect you with Heffernan Insurance Brokers.

Protecting Your Home From Wildfire

All of these steps can help you to protect your home from wildfire, and with the Ember Defense Home-Hardening Package, we can take care of each step for you. Our Home-Hardening Package includes:

  • An evaluation for defensible space and home protection
  • The installation of the best defense products for your home
  • A home insurance assessment

Once these services are completed, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that your home is protected against fires, even if you have to evacuate.

If you’re ready to protect your home, call us for an evaluation today at (415) 573-2400 . Be sure not to wait – as wildfire season approaches, we tend to get booked up quickly.