Each wildfire can scorch hundreds of thousands of acres. They are of most concern when they threaten residential areas, and proper precautions should be taken to protect your home if you live in designated wildfire areas or their environs.
Your roof is the largest area on your home that needs protection; it can also benefit from preventative maintenance. Here are five roof tips to help protect your home:
- Keep your roof and gutters free from tree debris including branches, leaves and pine needles. A flying spark, or firebrand, can cause dry debris on an area as large as your roof to quickly ignite.
- Consider installing a gutter guard that can keep all types of small debris (such as pine/fir needles) from entering the gutter. Debris will follow water, and gutter guards with openings of even 1/4 inch can trap debris. Fascia gutters, a common gutter style west of the Rockies has a deep trough and can trap more debris than a K-Style gutter.
- Cut back branches and limbs from trees that overhang your roof. Dead branches on trees close to your home should be removed. Be sure to keep tree limbs and branches 10 feet or more from a chimney.
- If your home has a chimney, be sure to cover its outlet and stovepipe with a screen with at least 1/2 inch or smaller. The screen should be manufactured from a nonflammable material.
- When it’s time to re-roof your home, consider installing a fire-resistant roof. Codes can differ from state to state, so check in with your local fire department for current roofing requirements. Common sense would tell you that a wood shingle roof offers the least protection. Common asphalt shingles are oil-based, and although they have some fire-resistant properties, they can ignite if hot enough. Some of your best options are metal, tile and fiberglass roofing materials.