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Tips for taming wildfire damage


Help protect your home from wildfire damage with these tips from American Family Insurance and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety.

Homeowners and business owners who live in areas that can be affected by wildfires should follow these tips to prepare for the chance of wildfires and possibly limit property destruction.

Choose the right roofing and siding for your home
Burning embers can be carried by the wind and fall on roofs. Consider using Class-A fire rated roofing product when building a new home or replacing existing roofs on a home or business. Also, since leaves, pine needles and branches can easily ignite, keep them off roofs, valleys and out of gutters. Installing 1/8” noncombustible screening over vents and spark arrestors on chimneys and stovepipes will also help reduce your risk. Maintain a 6-inch ground-to-siding clearance, and consider noncombustible siding.

Pay careful attention to “defensible space”
Defensible space is the area around a structure where proactive protection steps can be taken. Defensible space is divided into zones by number of feet from the structure:

Zone 1 – Extends 30 feet
The area within five feet of the structure should contain only non-flammable mulch and/or high moisture perennial/annual plants.

Zone should be “lean and green” with plants being carefully spaced, low-growing, and free of resins, oils and waxes.

Prune trees up six to ten feet from the ground and remove any dead vegetation.

Trim back trees that overhang the house. Space any conifer trees 30 feet between crowns.

Remove combustibles from under the deck.

Do not store flammable materials, such as propane tanks or firewood, in this space.

Post the home or business address clearly and prominently so firefighters and emergency personnel can easily see it.

Do not store boats, other recreational vehicles or machinery within this space.

Zone 2 – Extends 30 to 100 feet
Remove stressed, diseased, dead or dying trees and shrubs.

Plantings in this zone should be low-growing, well irrigated, and less flammable.

Thin trees so their crowns are at least 10 feet apart so fire can’t climb from treetop to treetop.

Prune trees up six to ten feet from the ground.

Keep grasses mowed to no higher than six to eight inches.Remove any trash.Make sure driveways allow easy access for emergency vehicles.

Zone 3 – Extends 100 to 150 feet
In this zone, remove highly flammable vegetation such as dead or dying trees and shrubs.

In addition, keep your driveway to a minimum of 12 feet of unobstructed width and 13.5 feet in vertical clearance with ample turnaround space for firefighting equipment in the event of a fire.

For additional information, please visit these helpful sites.

Insurance Institute For Business and Home Safety



About American Family Insurance
Madison, Wis. - based American Family Insurance is the nation's 13th-largest mutual property/casualty insurance group and ranks 332nd on the Fortune 500 list. The company sells American Family-brand products, including auto, homeowners, life, business and farm/ranch insurance, through its exclusive agents in 19 states. American Family affiliates (The General, Homesite and AssureStart) also provide options for consumers who want to manage their insurance matters directly over the Internet or by phone. Web:; Facebook:; Twitter:; Google+: