Mitigating Fire Damage: Enhancing Your Home’s Defenses Through Junk Removal and Hardening

Enhancing Your Home's Defenses Through Junk Removal and Hardening

You do not have to be helpless in the fight against wildfires to protect your family, home, and belongings. Taking proactive measures to prevent a wildfire tragedy can significantly enhance your safety and your home’s chances of survival.

You can protect your home or building structure by taking two steps: creating a clutter-free firebreak and fire-hardening your home.

Creating a Defensible Area as a Firebreak Around Your Home

The area you establish between a structure and surrounding vegetation, like grass or trees, is referred to as defensible space. It protects your house from radiant heat, embers, and direct flame contact, which can all slow or halt the spread of a wildfire. A properly defensible space gives firefighters a secure workspace in which to protect your house. Junk removal and hauling companies can help you keep the area around your home in the best possible condition to provide a fire break. Here are some tips to help you create a defensible space:

  • Hire a junk hauler to remove all junk from around your home
  • Employ non-combustible mulch materials such as concrete, pavers, gravel, and other hardscape elements. Ensure an absence of flammable mulch or bark
  • Remove dead or dying plants, trees, branches, bushes, grass, and vegetative debris, including leaves, needles, cones, and bark. Examine your decks, porches, stairways, roofs, gutters, etc.
  • Eliminate every branch that is within ten feet of a stovepipe outlet or chimney.
  • Keep flammable objects (such as planters and outdoor furniture) off of decks.
  • Move lumber and firewood to an area farther away from the structure you are protecting.
  • Replace flammable gates, arbors, and fences that are attached to the house with noncombustible substitutes
  • Think about moving the recycling and trash cans outside of the area next to your home
  • Move automobiles, boats, RVs, and other combustible objects outside of the area around your home

Employing Home Hardening Techniques

While not everyone understands the notion of “home hardening,” many inhabitants of regions devastated by wildfires now do, regrettably, find themselves far more familiar with it.

Texas A&M defines Home Hardening as “the process of reducing a home’s risk to wildfire by using non-combustible building materials, keeping the area around your home free of debris, and taking steps to prevent embers from entering the home.”

Your house is ready for an ember storm and wildfire if it is “fire-hardened.” Please be aware: fire-hardened does not mean fire-proof. With construction materials and installation methods that improve resistance to heat, flames, and embers that accompany most wildfires, home hardening addresses the most vulnerable parts of your home.

The first thing to be aware of is that the outside of your home is particularly vulnerable in some places. Concentrate on these weaknesses. These are your exterior defenses, and your entire house and property are at risk the moment an ember or flames get through to them.

  • Roofing: The components that make up your roof should be fireproof. These consist of clay, tile, metal, and composition. It is advisable to get a wood or shingle roof replaced if you have one because they are significantly more prone to catching fire. Close up any gaps that exist between the roofing material and roof decking. Last but not least, you should regularly clear your roof of any rubbish, moss, or dry leaves that could catch fire.
  • Vents: For embers, vents are like highways leading inside your house. Install 1/16- to 1/8-inch metal mesh screens on your vents to prevent embers from entering.
  • Soffits and Eaves: By enclosing your eaves using the soffit-eave design, you may protect your home from embers. Make use of materials that are difficult to catch fire and are fire resistant.
  • Windows: The heat of a wildfire can cause your windows to break very easily. Install dual-pane windows and ensure that one of them consists of tempered glass, which withstands heat more effectively and reduces the likelihood of shattering. Furthermore, use metal screens. In this way, the windows will still prevent the fire’s embers from entering your house, even if they break.
  • Siding and Walls: Common wood as the material for your home’s exterior and walls means they are not fireproof. Instead, use fire-resistant fiber cement siding, stucco, or pre-treated wood siding. To prevent embers and flames from entering at ground level, ensure that the siding is attached from the base of the foundation all the way up to the roof.
  • Decks: Materials for your deck should not catch fire. Moreover, anything combustible should not be near it from above or below. To prevent embers and flames from entering at ground level, make sure to attach the siding from the base of the foundation all the way up to the roof.
  • Terraces and Verandas: The material used to cover your patio or porch should be fireproof, just like your roof.
  • Outdoor Furniture: Ensure that the outdoor furniture you purchase is made from fire-resistant materials. While most seasonal cushions are crafted from fire-resistant materials, always read the labels and buy your cushions from reputable suppliers.
  • Gutters: The best thing you can do for rain gutters is to regularly clean them of anything that can catch fire. A non-combustible gutter cover is another option that you can choose to help keep debris out of your gutter and make maintenance simpler.
  • Fireplaces: Cover the aperture of your stovepipe or chimney with metal mesh that has holes at least 3/8-inch wide but no more than 1/2-inch wide. This will keep embers from a fireplace fire inside the chimney and shield your house from embers arriving from the outside.
  • Carports and Garages: To strengthen your garage door against sparks and flames, purchase and install weather stripping around the entire door. To lessen the possibility that they will catch fire in the event that an ember gets through, keep all of your combustible materials and items away from the entrance. Cover any outward-facing windows or vents with metal mesh.
  • Fencing: Ensure you build your fence with fire-resistant materials and place it as far away from your home as possible.
  • Parking Areas: Your driveway needs to be sufficiently large to let emergency vehicles—like fire engines—pass through without any problems. Maintain all bushes and trees clipped back to prevent them from getting in the way of any passing big vehicles. To facilitate easy access, if you have a gate, make sure it opens inward.
  • House Numbers: Always ensure that your house number is easily visible from the street. Installing a light to shine on the house number is also a good idea. You want emergency personnel to be able to find your home easily.

If you need help with junk removal in or around the house, give David’s Hauling KC a call at 816-542-6195. We can help you protect your home from wildfire by removing junk that would otherwise clutter up the defensible space around your home.

Contact us today!