Wildfire awareness: Tips on protecting your home

The early-season wildfires in Nova Scotia this spring were a real wake-up call. With wildfires happening more often and getting fiercer, it’s important to keep an eye on your surroundings, especially if you live near or in a forested area.

WildfireLocationArea Burned (Approx.)
Seven Mile Lake Fire 2016Annapolis County7,500 hectares
Maitland Mountain Fire 2017Hants County500 hectares
Porters Lake Fire 2019Halifax Regional Municipality1,225 hectares
Corbett Lake Fire 2019Cape Breton Regional Municipality520 hectares
Bayers Lake Fire 2020Halifax Regional Municipality10 hectares

Here are some easy steps you can take to help protect your home:

  1. Tackle the yard:
    • Get rid of any natural stuff that can catch fire on your property regularly.
    • Rake up those leaves and clear out dead branches and debris.
    • Mow the lawn and prune any dead limbs hanging from trees or shrubs.
  2. Store things smartly:
    • Don’t leave flammable patio furniture and cushions hanging around on your deck or porch. Stick them in a detached garage or shed when you’re not using them.
    • If you’ve got propane barbecue tanks, make sure you keep them as far away from your house as possible. And never stack firewood against your house. Besides being perfect fuel for a wildfire, it’s like an open invitation for insects to move in next to you.
  3. Up your home game:
    • If you’re building or renovating in a fire-prone area, pick materials that can handle the heat. Think metal roofing, masonry walls, or fiber cement board for the siding.
    • Go for triple-paned windows and fire-rated exterior doors to keep those flames out of your home.
    • When it comes to decks, consider using non-combustible composite materials. And if you’ve got a wooden fence, make sure there’s at least a 1.5-meter gap or use non-flammable stuff like gravel, river rock, or patio stones between it and the house.
  4. Be ready to evacuate:
    • Stay tuned to what the local emergency services are saying about evacuation orders.
    • Keep your car fueled up and parked facing the street, just in case you need to make a quick getaway.
    • Have an emergency bag ready with all the essentials: cash, passports, insurance info, meds, non-perishable food, water, a flashlight, and a first-aid kit.
    • And before you hit the road, don’t forget to close all windows and doors, and turn off the propane or natural gas supply.

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