Gone are the days when wildfires mostly put remote and rural properties at risk. For example, according to reporting from Colorado Public Radio, a wildfire destroyed more than 1,100 commercial and residential properties in a suburb of Boulder less than a year ago. The cost of the destruction is likely to be in the billions of dollars.
Because of the threat to suburban communities, homeowners are going to have to figure out a strategy for reducing the risks wildfires present to structures. Fortunately, some options are already readily available.
Clear away debris
Arguably, the most effective thing any homeowner can do to combat suburban wildfire risk is to clear away combustible debris. Dead trees, old lumber and other types of debris provide an immediate fuel source for suburban wildfires. By removing these, homeowners can prevent wildfires from spreading onto their properties.
Install fireproof fencing
In the Boulder-area suburban wildfire, fire followed fencing from one property to another. Consequently, it likely makes sense to invest in fireproof fencing. While wooden pickets burn easily, stone and composite materials are likely to slow the spread of suburban wildfires.
Redesign combustible features
Some parts of any suburban home are naturally combustible, including backyard decks. These structures can allow suburban wildfires to get a foothold. Therefore, savvy homeowners are replacing wood decks with fire-resistant materials. Likewise, it may be wise to rethink wooden sheds and playground equipment on any property.
Despite making decent efforts to mitigate the risk of suburban wildfires, homeowners are unlikely to be able to eliminate the risk altogether. Ultimately, though, affected homeowners are likely eligible for financial compensation for their losses from the insurance company.