Make sure your home is “firewise” now that the dry season is upon SWFL

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The vacation home was burned down to studs. Photo via CNN.

As the the dry season approaches in Southwest Florida, the members of the Sanibel Firewise Task Force collectively urge every homeowner to take measures to ensure that your property is “firewise” so that you can be protected in case of a fire.

The following checklist is designed to make homes safer in the event of a wildfire. Your home may be at increased risk of being damaged by wildfire if:

Sanibel Firewise Hazard Checklist for Homeowners:
  • The roof and gutters are covered or filled with dead branches, leaves or other flammable debris;
  • Firewood, flammable building supplies, or other combustibles, such as gasoline, are stored under or adjacent to your home;
  • Combustible vegetation, especially tall grasses such as cordgrass, slash pine, palm trees, and palmettos are located under or immediately adjacent to your home;
  • Tree limbs overhang the roof of your home or power lines;
  • There is a continuous line of flammable materials including mulch, tall grasses, pine trees, or cabbage palms along the property leading up to your home.
What You Can do to Reduce the Risk of Wildfire Damage:
  • Keep your roof, gutters, and the yard surrounding your home free of combustible debris such as branches, leaves, or other flammable debris.
  • Store firewood and other flammable materials, such as gasoline, away from your home in fireproof containers.
  • Remove tall grasses, palmettos, and other fire-prone vegetation close your home or other structures and replace with native hardwoods and moisture-retaining landscaping. Some examples of more suitable fire-resistant vegetation include: buttonwood, live oak, and seagrape.
  • Trim trees so that they do not overhang your roof or power lines.
  • Regularly prune dead limbs and remove dead palm fronds on trees near your home.
  • Use stone or gravel instead of mulch from your home to roof drip line, especially avoiding the use of pine straw as mulch in areas where fire danger is increased.

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