California’s current drought is forcing all of us to make sacrifices. We use much less water in our homes, and many of us are figuring out alternatives to keeping a lawn. Despite our best efforts, UC Davis reports the drought is carving $2.7 billion out of our state’s economy. As a San Francisco roofing company, we’re seeing the effects all around the Bay Area.
We’ll all keep fighting the good fight, of course, but that doesn’t make our home any less dry. That dryness brings along more problems than just a water shortage– it also creates prime fire conditions.
Though we can’t do anything about the dry weather, or directly supply the state with more water, we can all do our part to make sure we prevent wildfires and keep our homes safe during fire season.
Around this time in August each year, around 48,153 acres are lost to wildfire. This year, at least five times as many acres have been burned. Right now, the National Guard, and even some prison inmates, are joining wildland firefighters to contain the many blazes threatening California.
It’s serious, but we can all help.
We obviously can’t control when and where lightning strikes, and we can’t control the actions of other people– but we can control our own actions and help prevent more wildfires.
Even tiny sparks can start huge fires, it’s just not an urban myth or a Smoky the Bear commercial.
To help prevent these fires, you can:
- Safely Extinguish Cigarettes – If you smoke, make sure your cigarette butts are fully extinguished in a safe manner. If you need a small cup of water to extinguish them, one should be readily available. Also try to not smoke around any dry brush, dry fields, or other flammable material. If you don’t have a safe smoking area, it’s best to not smoke at all.
- Don’t Use Fireworks – You might have fireworks left over from earlier this summer, but now is not the time to use them– no matter how festive the occasion.
- Observe Proper Equipment Usage Times – If you need to use heavy equipment, power tools, or even your lawnmower, it’s best to use them before 10am when the humidity is a bit higher. If there is a strong wind, it’s best to forgo using that equipment altogether until conditions improve.
For more information on equipment usage during these dry conditions, check out the infographic below:
Protecting Your Home
Wildfires are burning across the state, and we hope all people, animals, structures and farmland stay safe. Still, those fires are burning and it only takes the right combination of weather conditions to bring them to our doorsteps.
Fortunately, we can make our homes more resilient by following some best practices and creating fire “buffer” or “defense” zones around our homes.
- Remove all weeds and dead plants
- Remove dead leaves and pine needles from your roof and rain gutters
- Trim trees regularly, and try to keep branches at least 10 feet from other trees
- Keep tree branches away from your roof and chimney
- Remove dry vegetation from areas around and under decks, doors, windows, and the perimeter of your home
- Separate trees and shrubs from other flammable items, such as patio furniture
- Make sure grass is not overgrown
- Maintain both vertical and horizontal spacing between trees, shrubs, and bushes
- Consider using or switching to non-combustible material for fences, decks, and patio covers
If you can, keep fire extinguishers and other fire prevention materials in a safe, easily accessible place. In the event a fire reaches the area around your neighborhood, wet down your roof as much as you can without putting yourself in harm’s way.
Dry conditions are a fact of life for us, at least for the time being. We love San Francisco, and as a San Francisco roofing company, we often see a bird’s-eye view of dangerous, flammable materials around the neighborhoods we work in.
Thousands of brave men and women are fighting to protect our homes and our loved ones from these fires, but we have to do our part, too. If we all observe smart fire prevention practices, and work on making our homes into fire “defense” zones, we’ll be helping fight current and future wildfires.
San Francisco’s residential & commercial roofing experts