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Tips to reduce wildfire risks
US Drought Monitor, April 2, 2013 (Valid 7 am EST), South. The Drought Monitor focuses on broad-scale conditions. Local conditions may vary. Released from National Drought MItigation Center. More at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu
According to the U.S. Seasonal Drought Outlook, drought conditions are expected to linger or intensify in Texas presenting a heightened threat of wildfire. In an effort to help Texas residents reduce their wildfire risk, the Institute for Business and Home Safety has outlined five ways home and business owners can reduce their wildfire risks in a March 22 press release. The best part, you don’t need a lot of money to do it.
•Clean roof. Not only does a clean roof look nice, but it can also reduce your wildfire risks. Embers can travel more than a mile from an actual fire, which can ignite combustible debris on your roof. Be sure to pay attention to areas where the roof meets a vertical surface, such as at a dormer. Also, be safe and never work on your roof if you are uncomfortable.
•Clean gutters. Have you cleaned your gutters lately? If not, they could be increasing your risk of wildfire damage. Gutters with combustible debris can be easily ignited by wildfire embers.
•Clean deck. Much like the roof and gutters, a deck full of combustible materials increases the risk of wildfire damage. Remember that patio furniture and lawn ornaments can also be combustible, so store them inside when not using the deck. In addition, removing combustible materials from under the deck is critical. If you do store combustible materials under your deck, enclosing the underside of the deck can be an option.
•Carefully position yard structures. Not only should combustible yard structures be placed away from your home, the area around them should also be maintained using noncombustible materials.
•Relocate propane and LP tanks. Relocate propane tanks at least 30 feet from the home. If this is not possible, create a 10-foot noncombustible zone around the tank.
The Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) wildfire resources is available at DisasterSafety.org. Specific resources includes:
•IBHS Wildfire Home Assessment & Checklist
•IBHS Wildfire Brochures: Residential, Farms and Ranches
•Wildfire Retrofit Guide -- Southeast Edition
Visit DisasterSafety.org for more information about how to make your buildings more resistant to a variety of disasters, big and small. Follow the Institute for Business and Home Safety on Twitter at @DisasterSafety and on Facebook.
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