Madison, WI,
16:55 PM

Don’t Become a Wildfire Victim

Be proactive and stay safe with these tips.


Think you’re immune to wildfires? Think again.

Wildfires take their toll in most of the 50 states, especially in the West. Even if you don’t live in a forest area, you could be at risk: wildfire embers can travel over one mile, potentially threatening nearby land.

This summer could be particularly hazardous, as the increased risk of wildfires has been predicted in different parts of the West and near the Great Lakes.

Be proactive. Take these precautions to help protect your family, home and belongings.

  • Clean your roof and gutters regularly.
  • Once a year, clean your chimney and ensure the damper works properly.
  • Equip chimneys, stovepipes and vents for fuel-burning heaters with spark arrestors. Ask your local fire department for exact specifications.
  • Keep the amount of vegetation surrounding your house to a minimum by creating a 30- to 100-foot “safety zone.” This may involve:
    • Removing vines from the sides of your house.
    • Moving shrubs, woodpiles and other flammable items away from your home.
    • Removing tree branches over the roof.
    • Pruning branches and shrubs within 15 feet of chimneys and stovepipes.
    • Removing dead vegetation.
    • Replacing highly flammable vegetation, such as pine, evergreen, eucalyptus, juniper and fir trees.
  • Install smoke alarms on each level of your home, and test them monthly.
  • Keep important documents in a waterproof container, and create a smaller, portable version to take along if you must evacuate your home at a moment’s notice.
  • For insurance purposes, keep an up-to-date inventory of your property with DreamVault, a free Web-based tool from American Family Insurance.

Have questions about proper insurance coverage? Talk to your American Family Insurance agent.

Check out these related resources:

Stay Safe This Wildfire Season

Wildfire Safety