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Protecting Your Home from Wildfire Should Be a Proactive Step

With record-setting wildfire activity happening in Canada, it’s time to take steps to reduce the risk of wildfire damage to your home.

When wildfires break out, they can lead to tremendous destruction and loss. Peace Hills Insurance provides insurance solutions to restore your property and livelihood after a loss, but there are steps that you can take to protect yourself before the fire starts.

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In 2023, wildfires across the country burned through 18.5 million hectares — that’s three times the size of Nova Scotia — and caused 240,000 people to be evacuated, particularly from impacted communities within Kelowna, Hay River, and Yellowknife. They forced more people to leave their homes behind than any other wildfire season on record in Canada. Smoke from those fires covered wide swaths of the country’s landscape, lowering air quality in many cities to unhealthy levels.

Each year, thousands of wildfires across Canada burn millions of hectares of forest. If your home or business is located in a forested area, you may be exposed to the danger of wildfire, but there are actions that you can take to help protect your property.

Wildfire preparation and protection

Clearing vegetation and keeping a clear space of 10 metres around any structures will reduce fuel for a fire to burn. It’s also good practice to thin trees, keeping a distance of three to six metres between crowns within 30 metres of your home.

Propellants like firewood and propane tanks should be kept 100 metres clear of surrounding greenery or shrubbery and structures, while arrestor screens can help stop sparks or embers coming up from wood-burning stoves or fireplaces.

Flame-resistant siding and roofing are readily available as home improvement upgrades, and decks should be covered with resistant decking materials with undersides fully enclosed. Enclosing all eaves and screening all vents, including soffits, adds another protective measure to ward off flames from spreading inside.

Fire retardant roofing falls under different classes, with Class A, B, or C ratings. The letters correspond with the scope of protection, where Class A can withstand severe fire exposure, Class B is moderate, and Class C is light.

All exterior doors should be fire-rated and properly sealed, and having tempered windows will provide additional protection to your dwelling and structures.

Covering all angles

Following FireSmart recommendations is a great strategy to protect your property but unfortunately living in a wildland urban interface (a zone of transition between wilderness and developed land) still has risk. To really be prepared, take stock of the personal belongings inside your property and document them with photos. Receipts and replacement cost values will also greatly assist in the claims process should a loss occur.

If you have important digital data, cloud-based services can securely store it all off-site, while on-site physical copies should survive when kept in a fireproof safe. This goes for anything from irreplaceable family photographs to documents like birth certificates or health information.

Peace Hills Insurance’s claims staff are experts at helping you navigate the claims process after experiencing a wildfire loss, and it’s easy to find a broker who can help find the best rate and coverage for you.

Visit today.

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