Preparing Your Home and Property for a Safe Winter: Mitigating Wildfire Risks

Dear SFTR Community,

As the crisp, cool air of autumn sets in, it's time for us to start preparing our homes and land acreage for the upcoming winter season. While winter brings its own set of challenges, it's also an excellent opportunity to take steps to mitigate wildfire risks to our homes and property. In this article, we'll discuss essential actions to safeguard our beloved community.

1. Create Defensible Space:

One of the most effective ways to protect your home from wildfires is to create defensible space around it. This involves clearing away dead vegetation, leaves, and other flammable materials. Ensure that your property is well-maintained, and use fire-resistant plants in your landscaping.

2. Clean Your Gutters and Roof:

During the fall, leaves and debris can accumulate in your gutters and on your roof. Clearing them regularly not only prevents winter-related issues like ice dams but also reduces the risk of embers igniting debris during a wildfire.

3. Install Spark Arresters:

Consider installing spark arresters on chimneys and stovepipes. These devices can prevent sparks from escaping and potentially igniting nearby vegetation or structures.

4. Firewood and Propane Tank Storage:

If you use firewood or have propane tanks on your property, store them away from your home and any flammable structures. Keep firewood at least 30 feet away and propane tanks at least 10 feet away from structures.

5. Maintain Emergency Access:

Ensure that emergency responders can access your property. Trim branches and vegetation along driveways and access roads, allowing for easy passage of fire trucks and other emergency vehicles.

6. Home Fire Safety:

Inside your home, make sure you have smoke detectors with fresh batteries and fire extinguishers in good working order. Create a family emergency plan and discuss it with all household members.

7. Join the Community Effort:

Check the website and participate in mitigation projects organized by our SFTR Wildfire Mitigation Committee. Collaborate with your neighbors to identify potential mutual hazards and solutions. Together, we can create a safer environment for everyone.

8. Stay Informed:

Keep yourself informed about local weather conditions and any fire-related alerts or advisories. Sign up for emergency notifications via the “Code Red” mobile app and have a "go-bag" ready with essential items in case of an evacuation.

9. Winterize Your Home:

Don't forget to prepare for winter weather. Insulate pipes, maintain heating systems, and stock up on essentials like food, water, and blankets.

10. Learn from the Experts:

Consider attending workshops or webinars on wildfire preparedness specific to our region. Experts can provide valuable insights and tips tailored to our local environment.

By taking these proactive steps, we can help protect our homes and acreage from the threat of wildfires while preparing for the winter ahead. Let's work together to ensure the safety and resilience of our mountain community.

Stay safe, stay informed, and enjoy the beauty of our mountainous landscape this winter!

Submitted by Ryan Cavazos