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NFPA provides action steps for residents to reduce wildfire risk

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STATEWIDE While wildfires continue to burn actively across the West, they don't have to burn everything in their path. In fact, clearing property of debris and maintaining a home's landscaping can make a significant difference in reducing the risk for wildfire damage.

As wildfires continue to receive news coverage this season, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) strongly encourages education regarding the ways residents can increase their safety and improve their home's likelihood of surviving a wildfire.

NFPA offers a wealth of resources, including action steps for homeowners, and soundbites and b-roll from wildfire expert Michele Steinberg, NFPA's Wildland Fire Operations division manager, to use in upcoming wildfire coverage. Video files are available to download and can be found in NFPA's online library. (If you receive the Microsoft Word Security Warning, please click OK and ownCloud should open.) This library also includes a 30-second video from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) Research Center demonstrating home vulnerability to wildfire embers.

The following action steps are aimed at homeowners to help protect their homes in the event of a wildfire in their area:

Clear off pine needles, dead leaves and anything that can burn from rooflines, gutters, decks, porches, patios and along fence lines. Falling embers will have nothing to burn.

Collect and store away things like furniture cushions, rattan mats, potted plants and other decorations from decks, porches and patios. These items catch embers and will help ignite a home if you leave them outside.

Wind-borne embers can get into homes easily through vents and other openings and burn homes from the inside out. Take a walk around your house to see what openings can be screened or temporarily sealed up.

Embers landing in mulch that touches your house, deck or fence are a big fire hazard. Rake out any landscaping mulch to at least five feet away from your home.

Trim back any shrubs or tree branches that come closer than 5 feet to the house, attachments, and any overhanging branches.

Take a walk around your house and remove anything within 30 feet that could burn, such as woodpiles, spare lumber, vehicles and boats anything that can act as a large fuel source.

If you are ordered to evacuate, make sure all windows and doors are closed tightly, and seal up any pet doors. Many homes are destroyed by embers entering these openings.

Additional NFPA resources include:

Firewise Toolkit: Homeowner checklist

Infographic: Seven tips to help keep homes from igniting in a wildfire

Wildland Fire Safety Tips Sheet

The Basics of Defensible Space and the Home Ignition Zone

For more information, please visit or contact NFPA's public affairs department at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or (617) 984-7275.


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