Fireproofing your home - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Fireproofing your home

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YAKIMA, WA - Over 100,000 acres burned in southeast Washington in 2017: with that number in mind, many local homeowners have made several changes to their homes to protect their properties from brush fires. The Yakima County Fire Marshall's Office tells us several communities around SR-12 and Highway 410 are a part of this national program. 

Firewise is a community effort project that helps reduce the risk of wildfires spreading to homes. Fire Safety Specialist Blake Scully tells us that house fires could start from brush fires in a variety of ways. From embers to surface fires like in the grass burning up to the house, or crown fires which normally start at the tops of trees and work their way down towards homes.

No homes in the Lower Valley are involved with Firewise yet, but Scully says there is potential for them to join.

Several residents impacted by the fires in Selah last year made some changes with their landscaping around their homes and even added irrigation systems to help keep the grasses around their homes greener. 

"I got insured to protect my land and my house," says Selah resident Noe Valencia. Valencia's fields and hay stacks burned in one of the fires last summer and got very close to his home. He chose not to take a risk this year and decided to invest in home insurance.

As for what you can do to protect your home:

  • Keep all leaves and dry brush away from around your home and roof.
  • To prevent fires from spreading, trim branches that overhang any structures and try to keep a green belt of grass around your home.
  • Cover openings in your home like vents with screens.
  • Make sure there are no flammable materials under patios.
  • Create a fire disaster plan.
  • Have a "Go-Bag" ready for each member of your family that include important documents, food and water, clothes, medicine, and any other important things you need for at least a 24-72 hour period. 

"Wildfires spread quickly so that first initial time period is really what we're trying to protect the residences against... until the fire department can get there to protect your house," Scully said.

For more information on how you can get your home fire season ready or to learn more about the Firewise program, head over to firewise.org or wildlandfiresg.org

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