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Wildfire Risk Assessment Tips for Your Home from FireSmart Canada

With the hot summer weather approaching, the risk of wildfires is rising.

Many don’t think our homes are at risk from wildfires until too late. Although wildfires are entirely out of our control, there are still some steps that we can take to assess how much wildfire risk our home is vulnerable to. Here are some tips that you can use to determine the amount of wildfire risk your home has.

Wildfire Risk Assessment Tips for Your Home from FireSmart Canada The Home Insurance People

Wildfire Risk Assessment for Your Home

You can assess how much wildfire risk your home is exposed to by looking at a few things related to the home structure, like roofing and siding.

  • What Kind Of Roofing Do You Have?

Class A UL/ASTM fire-rated materials like metal, clay tile, or asphalt shingles are better than unrated roof assemblies like wood shakes and shingle roofs.

  • Are Your Gutters Combustible?

Non-combustible gutters made from metal or aluminum are better than those made from combustible materials like plastic, vinyl, or wood.

  • How Clean Are Your Roof Gutters?

If your gutters have a lot of plant needles, leaves, or other combustible materials present, that increases the risk of wildfires.

  • What Type Of Exterior Siding Do You Have?

Avoid combustible or non-ignition-resistant siding like vinyl, wood, or acrylic stucco. Instead, opt for ignition-resistant materials like fibre cement boards/logs or non-combustible materials like stucco, metals, or brick/stone.

  • Are There Gaps / Holes in Your Exterior Siding?

Gaps, cracks, or holes in your exterior siding increase your home’s risk to wildfires, so fix/fill them ASAP if there are some!

  • Are Your Walls Protected with Non-Combustible Clearance?

It is best to have walls protected with a minimum of 15 cm of non-combustible ground-to-side clearance.

  • How Fire Resistant Are Your Windows or Doors?

There should be no gaps in any doors. Also, multi-pane or tempered glass is better for windows than single-pane glass.

Wildfire Risk Assessment for Your Yard

One can also assess how much wildfire risk a home is exposed to by looking at the house’s yard.

  • What Type Of Forest Grows Within 10 Meters Of Your Home?

Healthy deciduous trees like poplar, aspen, and birch are best. Conversely, Conifer trees (spruce, pine, fir cedar) and Mixedwood (conifer and deciduous) are riskier.

  • Where Are Your Woodpiles or Combustible Materials Stored?

Storing woodpiles and other combustible materials at least 10 meters from home is best.

Evacuation Tips for Fire Emergencies

In a worst-case scenario where you may need to evacuate your home due to a nearby wildfire, you will want to have an evacuation kit prepared—also, some important things to remember before you leave and evacuate your home too. See below to learn more.

Ready To Go Evacuation Kits

Having an evacuation kit ready to go can be a lifesaver if you ever need it. Things to put in your evacuation kit could include;

  • Water, try for 2 litres of water for each person.
  • Food, focus on non-refrigerated food.
  • Flashlight, remember to pack extra batteries too.
  • Clothes, as you will want a change of clothes.
  • First Aid Kit, at least a small one.
  • Medicine, in case any family member requires a particular medication.
  • IDs, as you will want some personal identification.
  • Hygiene Items, like soap, hand sanitizer, toothbrush/paste, etc.
  • Pet Food and any other pet supplies you feel are essential.
  • Cash, in small denominations, is best.


When You Leave, Remember To…

  • Bring your ready-to-go evacuation kit (see above).
  • Turn off your home water, electricity, and gas.
  • Close doors and windows.


RELATED: Purchasing Home Insurance During Wildfire Season? Here’s What You Need To Know

Forest Fire and Home Insurance from FireSmart Canada and Harbord The Home Insurance People

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