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Southern California Fire Season is Rapidly Approaching


Tips on protecting your Southern California home against fire include Home Hardening

If you or your clients have lived in or done Real Estate business in California for any amount of time, you quickly learn that Southern California Fire Season is a real and present danger that we protect ourselves against year after year. As we inaugurate the Spring and Summer seasons, we usher in rising temperatures and dry weather. Sprinkle in the warm and powerful Santa Ana Winds and you have a recipe for extremely dangerous fire conditions. What are some ways that you can protect yourself, your family, and your clients from the danger of Southern California fires?

The LA County Fire Department calls it Home Hardening. The Los Angeles County Fire Department “Ready! Set! Go!” Personal wildfire action plan recommends a proactive inspection of the major systems of the exterior of the home, including the roof, gutters, structure, vents, windows, exterior vegetation, and decks and balconies and to take steps to mitigate risk of potential fire damage to your home. Here are some of their recommendations to inspect and remediate if necessary:

  • Use ember resistant construction materials when possible.

  • If you have rain gutters, ensure that they are cleaned out and free from vegetation and debris regularly. Dry vegetation becomes an enhanced risk area for fire conditions.

  • Consider covering your rain gutters with a wire mesh to mitigate and prevent the accumulation of plant debris.

  • Cut tree branches within 10 feet of your roof and home.

  • Plug any gaps between the roof decking and covering.

Vents are another priority area – while ventilation is important to ensuring construction systems remain free from moisture buildup, openings on the exterior of your home allow for potential embers to enter.

  • Cover vents with 1/8 inch metal mesh.

  • Use baffles to block embers and protect vents in eaves or cornices.

  • Use fire resistant materials to protect eaves and soffits.

Chimney and Stovepipe Outlet – ensure that the heat leaving your home through these outlets do not bring harm to the areas around them.

  • Cover with non-flammable screens of ¼ inch wire mesh.

  • Consider installing an exterior spark arrestor.

  • Make sure your chimney is at least 10 feet away from tree branches.

Windows – In a fire, your windows are especially vulnerable.

  • Install dual paned windows with the exterior pane made of tempered glass.

  • If possible, reduce the amount of windows that face large areas of vegetation.

Exterior Walls – Wood siding materials are combustible and are at an increased risk in fire prone areas.

  • Consider using fire resistant materials such as:

    • Brick,

    • Cement,

    • Masonry, or

    • Stucco.

Decks & Patios – When constructing, consider using heavy timber or non-flammable construction materials. Enclose the underside of balconies and decks with fire resistant materials, and remove anything flammable from on or under your deck.

Utilities – Locate and show your family your emergency shut off switches or valves for your utilities. These include electric, gas, or water for safety purposes. Know how to safely turn them off in an emergency and ensure everyone in the home has this information.

Regular and proactive maintenance, and proper construction techniques allow you to prevent your home from being affected by embers during a wild land fire.

The California Association of Realtors (CAR) has implemented C.A.R. Form HHDS, 12/20 the Home Hardening and Defensible Space Disclosure and Addendum. See a sample here.

Our inspection teams at Trident Inspection Group, and our subsidiary and affiliate inspection company’s are on heightened alert to bring to your client’s attention areas of risk in our succinct inspection reports using the latest methods in cutting-edge technology. Please contact us today for more information.

More information on the above-mentioned programs can also be found here: https://fire.lacounty.gov/rsg/