Some would say they strike fast and hit hard. That most occur in the ‘outfield’ and not on my home turf. Or that the MLB Playoffs are in the fall and so are our Santa Ana winds. But what homeowners should be most concerned about is if their home is a “Catchers-Mitt!”
Direct flame impingement is not the primary cause of structures burned during wildfires. Flying embers can ignite homes over a mile away. This is when homes become a “Catchers-Mitt” of embers starting structures on fire.
A “Catchers-Mitt” is what catches an ember from a wildfire and igniting things such as roofs, roof openings, vents and open ends of barrel tiles. Roof debris such as pine needles, leaves, branches and bark, on the roof or rain gutters catch embers. Keep them clean!
Cover attic, eave and foundation vents with fire code approved wire mesh or install new vent types designed to prevent ember entry.
Woodpiles catch embers and ignite. Move firewood stacks and scrap lumber piles at least 30 feet from the house or other buildings. Patio furniture also catches embers and is very combustible. Move them inside the house or garage if a wildfire is threatening.
Remove combustible materials from the porch and deck such as newspapers, wicker baskets, door mats, and dried flower arrangements. Move barbecues with small propane tanks into the garage.
Remove wooden flowerboxes from beneath windows if wildfire is threatening. Replace wood mulches with noncombustible types and remove plant debris next to the house and next to wooden fences.
Close vehicle windows and back them into the garage. Close the garage door or park away from the house. Adjust garage doors to achieve as tight a fit as possible with the door frame. Consider using trim around the garage door opening to reduce the size of the gaps. Close the garage door if wildfire is threatening.
Use this Catchers-Mitt Checklist and protect your home from being a Catchers-Mitt this Season: www.nps.gov/samo/learn/management/upload/EmberAwarenessChecklist_4_2013_Final.pdf
Fire Chief Sam DiGiovanna