There are three main factors that create a fire safe structure: location of the structure, building materials and design features, and management of nearby vegetation. The Santa Barbara County Fire Department reminds homeowners that the survival of your home from a wildfire with its existing design and location is directly linked to how well you maintain the vegetation around your home.
During wildfires, most home ignitions are caused by flying embers from burning vegetation. Follow these steps to make your home fire safe.
- The roof should have a Class A fire rating. A complex roof with many angles can accumulate debris. Keep your roof and gutters clean of debris.
- Fires can ignite in the attic due to flying embers. Use attic vents designed to resist the intrusion of embers and flames.
- Install dual-pane windows with tempered glass.
- Box in or eliminate exposed eaves for additional protection.
- Don’t store combustible materials next to your house or under your deck.
- New homes should be built away from ridge tops, canyons and saddles.
- Post your address so it is visible from the street and maintain your driveway to allow firefighting equipment access.
For more information on building and maintaining a fire safe structure, please review the Ready! Set! Go! Program at www.sbcfire.com.
Beginning June 1, 2017 the Santa Barbara County Fire Department (SBCFD) began conducting defensible space inspections. A minimum of 100 feet of defensible space is required around your home in Santa Barbara County.
Engine companies will perform inspections and provide homeowners with educational material on how to comply. This year new State requirements require firefighters to also collect information pertaining to the structure itself including water systems, access, addressing, fire resistance, and surrounding slope. This information will become part of a state wide database of all structures in the State Responsibility Area (SRA) and will be used for Pre-Plans, the Defensible Space Program, and for post-fire damage assessments. With the year-round threat of wildfire, the defensible space requirement is enforced at all times in Santa Barbara County. Non-compliant homeowners are subject to be cited.
The SBCFD reminds people that defensible space is the area around a structure free of flammable plants and objects that creates a zone in which firefighters can operate safely in order to help protect a home during a wildfire. This space is wide enough to prevent direct flame impingement and reduce the amount of radiant heat reaching the structure. The defensible space for each structure varies and depends on the type of vegetation and topography. Maintaining this defensible space is critical.
The Ready! Set! Go! Program was launched in May 2009 as a new approach to educating Southern California residents about the now year-round threat of wildfire. This public education program seeks to gain active public involvement in reducing life and property loss caused by wildfires. This program is presented in three steps:
- Ready! Prepare yourself, your family and your property.
- Set! Monitor fire weather/activity and prepare to evacuate.
- Go! Leave early when directed to by public safety officials.
To learn more about Ready! Set! Go!, please visit www.sbcfire.com.