The dry, hot weather means an increasing danger of wildfires. These destructive wraths of nature can make your home vulnerable to damage, as we saw this summer in British Columbia.

As a property owner, you can take steps to protect your property from a wildfire spreading to your land. Below are five ways you can prepare your property and reduce the risk of damage from a wildfire.

Create a safety zone

Trees, grass and shrubbery are all fuel for wildfires. Minimizing the amount of vegetation surrounding your property will lessen the risk of a fire reaching and damaging your property and possessions. Inspect the land surrounding your property and remove highly flammable vegetation such as pine and fir trees, and keep lawns green and mowed. Move landscaping plants and vines away from the sides of your property. If you’re considering renovations, keep in mind that brick walls, stone patios, and swimming pools act as barriers against flames.

Assess your roof

Your roof is a resting place for debris buildup. Make sure you clean roof surfaces and gutters regularly to avoid debris, including leaves, needles, twigs, and other flammable materials. While you’re cleaning your roof, check and clean your chimney. Chimneys should be inspected twice a year for accumulation of soot or creosote.

Be visible to emergency services

Is your home visible to emergency crews in the event there is a fire and you call 9-1-1? If not, make sure the address is clearly visible from the road to passersby, and your street sign is fireproof.

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Prepare for the worst

There’s no such thing as too much preparation when it comes to keeping your valuables safe. To minimize damage to your property and possessions in the event of a fire, move your valuables to a safe location outside of your home, such as a safe or deposit box. If you own recreational vehicles such as an RV, boat or collectible car, transport them to a safe location and make sure they’re insured. Furthermore, plan access and evacuation routes. Driveways should be at least 5 meters in width to allow for easy entrance of fire trucks. Also, ensure you have a reliable external water supply to protect your structure and natural areas from fires. A garden hose approximately 30 meters in length or a swimming pool is sufficient for this purpose.

Ensure your home insurance policy is up-to-date

A wildfire can happen at any time. Always keep your home insurance policy up-to-date and contact your insurance company to find out exactly what is covered. If you own multiple properties, check all insurance policies to ensure that you have sufficient protection against damages.