NWACA’s Wildfire Prevention Committee continues to encourage the neighborhood to be aware of the risks of wildfires to the whole neighborhood. With the ongoing drought, our landscapes and green spaces become excellent fuel for fires that might be triggered from a house fire, a lightning strike, or some careless motorist. While those who live close to a greenbelt might feel most threatened, all of the NWACA area is vulnerable to fires started by embers blown around during a large fire. As we see in the news from the west coast again this year, the threat is real.
All homeowners need to be aware of the risk and take steps to make their homes resilient to embers and to the possibility of a moving wildfire. Trained and certified volunteers from Committee are available to do free home wildfire risk evaluations. An evaluation takes about 45 minutes, walking around the perimeter of your home with you, using a checklist of commonly found risk areas. You can sign up at www.nwaca.org using the Firewise Request form under the Get Involved tab.
Using the results of the evaluation, homeowners focus on making the house and the area immediately around it (30 feet or so away) as fire-resistant as possible; then they focus on the next area up to 100 feet from the home, being sure that it is clear of dead limbs and brush. (More details can be found in the wildfire prevention tips at www.nwaca.org under the Blog tab. See tips 1 and 2 in particular.)
When a whole subdivision, HOA, or other identifiable group of homes joins together to make their homes and common areas fire-resistant, they can form what is known as a Firewise Community. The National Fire Protection Association has established criteria for a collection of homes to be deemed a Firewise Community. See this website for details: www.firewise.org The NWACA Wildfire Prevention Committee will help you through the process, using the work we’ve done over the last several years on a community-wide plan and from the community-wide wildfire assessment that’s already been done. Contact us at [email protected]
There are obvious financial benefits to being Firewise at the time of an urban wildfire, since your life and home will be safer than those that are unprepared. In addition, homeowner insurance companies are paying attention to how being Firewise helps manage the risks. Several companies do their own wildfire risk assessments as part of issuing or renewing a policy, and now State Farm is offering discounts on premiums for homeowners who are part of a Firewise Community. More information can be found at this link: http://firewise.org/usa-recognition-program/usaa?order_src=C365&sso=0
We hope that other insurance companies follow suit soon. If you’re not insured with State Farm, you may want to ask your insurance provider about its plans to do something similar. Having a Firewise property is clearly in the best interests of the homeowner, the NWACA community, and the insurance company.