11 Tips for Preparing for Wildfire Season

by Matt Solis


An unusually dry winter and windy conditions mean the Bay Area wildfire season is off to an early start in 2021. We’ve compiled this list of tips to help you prepare for the threat of wildfire and the presence of wildfire smoke in your community. 

  1. Be vigilant about sparks. Most wildfires are caused by humans. A stray spark from a lawnmower or an improperly extinguished cookout can lead to a wildfire.
  2. Inspect your roof. Wildfire typically damages homes when embers land on the roof. Clear out any debris in your gutters and cut back branches that overhang your roof.
  3. Inspect crawl space or attic screens. During a wildfire, wind can blow embers into your attic or crawl space if the protective screens aren’t properly in place.
  4. Remove easily combustible plants located near your home. Juniper, bamboo and rosemary are known for easily catching fire, and juniper’s oils will actually exacerbate flames.
  5. Choose fire-resistant plants for your landscape. No plant is fireproof, but many species are better at resisting ignition than others. Such varieties include French lavender, sumac and aloe.
  6. Get rid of any mulch adjacent to your home. Mulch dries out quickly in hot weather and can easily ignite in wildfire conditions.
  7. Construct a wall. If your yard is sloped, a retaining wall can slow down the wind and reduce the spread of wildfire.
  8. Prepare for rolling blackouts. PG&E will schedule grid shutdowns when there’s a strong risk to power lines. Be sure to turn off major appliances before a shutdown to prevent a power surge when electricity returns.
  9. Replace your air filters regularly. Wildfire smoke can cause dangerous levels of air pollution. A clean home air filter is an important first line of defense against harmful particles.
  10. Invest in air purifiers. A portable air purifier can help improve indoor air quality during smoky conditions. For those with greater health concerns, a whole-house air purification system may be worth the cost.
  11. Protect your car. Ash from wildfire smoke can damage your car’s exterior. If you can’t park your car in a covered area, clean off ash as soon as possible using a hose with strong water pressure.