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Man, it’s hot out there!

Wildfireprotection_2At this time of year, a home improvement writer’s interest typically turns to wet-weather topics like replacing the roof and cleaning out the gutters. But here we are in the heat of fire season.

This graphic in today’s L.A. Times (click on graphic to enlarge) gives advice on increasing a home’s ability to survive a wildfire. By now, we know to clear brush away from the house and not to install wood-shake roofs. And we’re starting to learn that dual-pane windows help resist fire, as well as conserve energy in those moments when a fire is not raging outside.

Here are a couple of other ideas to consider:

Wire mesh inside vent openings. This will prevent hot embers from getting inside the attic space, and the wire mesh should have spaces no larger than 1/8 inch. This is a simple home improvement project just about anyone could tackle with a few bucks’ worth of mesh and a staple gun.

Boxed eaves. If the eaves are closed up, hot embers will not fly up and under the eaves, where they could smolder before catching the roof on fire. (Overhanging decks present the same danger.) It might take a carpenter to do this job right.

These ideas are echoed in a 2004 op-ed piece in the San Diego Union-Tribune titled "The Cedar fire: a question of blame?" It stated:

The ultimate responsibility for fire safety lands squarely with individual homeowners. It is their duty to do everything they can to retrofit existing structures with low fire-risk features: boxed eaves, double-glazed windows, ember-resistant attic vents, sealed gaps between roof tiles and deck, and no exposed wood surfaces, including fences and roofing.

Also, Kathy Kristof’s Q&A on fire insurance

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