Recovering from a Wildfire – Rebuilding in an Altered Landscape

by Ben SanfordApril 15, 2019

What To Do After Fire Damage Has Occurred on Your Property

Living in nature has its rewards, as well as its share of potential dangers, and fires have become a newsworthy subject in various places all around the country of late. If you’re a homeowner whose property is exposed to potential danger from wildfires, you need to educate yourself and become prepared to deal with emergencies, should they arise.

In this article, you’ll learn about the risks of fire, and fire smart techniques that you can use to protect your home against wildfires. There are many options that can help and your family prepare for the worst – here, offers helpful tips on constructing a new home with safety in mind, and managing the potential dangers from wildfires.

rebuilding after a wildfire

Turning Around With a New Home

You’ve finally settled everything with your insurance company and the clean-up crews have begun to leave. The experience of losing your home in a wildfire has been harrowing, but you are wiser because of it. Now it’s time to start getting your life back on track. Here are some essential tips for rebuilding a house with fire mitigation in mind to help prevent the unthinkable from ever happening again.

Of course, this is the worst case scenario, and many of you reading this article now are merely preparing for a potential fire, rather than actually recovering from one. For those savvy homeowners who know it’s best to be safe rather than sorry in the event of a fire emergency, read on so you can create a disaster plan today.

Start Constructing a Fireproof Plan

When looking to hire a contractor, make sure to ask about non-combustible materials and fire-resistant components used to protect the outside of your building. Burning-hot embers and flames can be carried by the wind and easily ignite wooden siding or roofing, and they can enter through uncovered vents. You should also consider installing a metal leaf guard to cover your gutters to keep debris from collecting and becoming a fire hazard.

As you design the landscape around your home, consider what types of plants, shrubs and trees are suited for a dry environment. Avoid oily plants, anything with waxy leaves, needles or papery bark. Maintain a good amount of space to act as a buffer around your house where there is little fuel for fire.

Taller plants and trees should be kept farther away from buildings than foliage closer to the ground. Gravel and decorative stone can be a great alternative to the traditional lawn and will be less maintenance too.

rebuilding after a wildfire

Seek Out the Obi-Wan Kenobi of Fire Safety

If you have the means, hire a private firefighter or wildfire specialist to conduct a risk assessment of your property. A professional inspection will help you understand where problem areas exist and how to make improvements. Many homeowners find it very useful to have things pointed out like which trees should be removed, as well as advice on different landscaping and fire mitigation treatments.

Your local firefighter station will be another great resource, and you can think of them as a council of Jedis. Give them a call and ask what information they have regarding wildfires and inquire about local meetings that homeowners can join for information gathering.

It Takes a Homeowner’s Association…

Any proper plan for protection against wildfires will ultimately involve your entire community. It’s important to take the time to speak with your neighbors about fire safety, and to see what they’re doing to protect their own homes and property. Find out if there is a fire safety association and attend meetings regularly.

If nobody else has stepped up to the plate, consider becoming a community leader in this area and bring people in your neighborhood together. Remember, you’ve been through this before and maybe your new neighbors haven’t.

Keeping Up With the Kardashians Precautions

It’s a good exercise to ask yourself questions related to the risk. What if a fire unexpectedly came from the North? What would you do? How about from the West, South or East? What roads would you use to leave your neighborhood?

Do you have anything ready if you had to get up and leave immediately? Where would you go? Have you uploaded all your important photos and documents to cloud storage? It might seem paranoid but again, it’s better to be prepared than sorry.

rebuilding after a wildfire

Take Action: Mitigate and Maintain

Nearly every part of the exterior of your house and its surroundings could be at risk of catching fire. Do your homework and follow the right steps to properly fireproof your home and property as you build. The more you know and talk about fire safety with your neighbors, the more likely you will be at successfully preventing your home from being destroyed by a wildfire.

Living in nature is beautiful, peaceful and serene but there are dangers. You can help mitigate the risks by using fire smart techniques and non-combustible building materials. Don’t forget to find safety and call 911 in an emergency. Last, there is a lot of good information on the FEMA website specifically about building in a burn-zone which you should definitely check out.

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About The Author
Ben Sanford
Ben is a real estate agent and freelance writer. He's lived on the east coast his entire life and is just as "at home" on a snowboard as he is in the office. When not writing about local real estate markets and researching hot new tips for homeowners, he can be found working on his home renovation projects with help from his wife Melissa and their kids, Josh and Cheyenne.

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