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September 29, 2017

How to protect your log home from forest fires

A wet winter that promoted extra growth, followed by hot, dry, windy conditions here in California means that we are once again facing fire season. Log homes, often situated in forested areas or open rangeland, are susceptible to forest fires and need to be prepared in every way they can.

The good news: Many people don’t realize that log homes are already much more resistant to wildfire damage than traditional homes. The materials, structure, and building techniques used to construct log homes put them a step ahead of suburban stick-built homes when faced with raging fires.

Beyond the natural protections against fires your log home has, there are a few more actions you can take to protect your home from serious damage, such as:

  • Make sure your roof is constructed of (or treated with) fire-resistant materials.
  • If you have wood fencing attached to your home, this can lead fire straight to the structure. Create a barrier of non-flammable fencing a minimum of 6 to 10 feet from the property walls. If it’s a last-minute emergency, knock down several sections of the fencing near the house as quickly as you can. It will cost far less to replace the fence than your cabin.
  • Prevent sparks or floating embers from entering your home by covering vents with wire mesh screens no larger than one-eighth inch square.
  • Keep gutters, eaves and roof clear of leaves and other debris, particularly dry needles, which are very flammable.
  • If a wildfire is approaching, create a “fuel-free” zone around the house by quickly moving furniture, woodpiles, decorations and anything else that will burn as far away from the outside of the house as possible.
  • Finally, make it a part of your regular maintenance routine to keep trees and landscaping from getting too close to your home. Try to leave several yards of clearance on all sides of your home free of combustibles such as dead brush, firewood, or propane tanks. If mature trees are established and you want to keep them near the house, try to keep them trimmed and keep branches from overhanging the roof and sides of home.