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Fireproofing your home is more important than ever

By Brendan King/WDBJ7
Published On: Jul 15 2013 05:38:19 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 15 2013 07:23:51 PM EDT

A wildfire might be the last thing on your mind after all the rain we've been dealing with, but it's not out of the question.

SALEM, Va. -

Last week's rain brought a lot of moisture to the trees, grass and bushes. A wildfire might be the last thing on your mind, but now's the perfect time to fireproof your home.

Virginia Department of Forestry has designed a program called Firewise Virginia. It's designed to give neighborhoods a fighting chance against wildfires.

Forestry officer Denny McCarthy works at the Virginia Department of Forestry office out of Salem.

He says that even with all the recent rain, all it takes is a week or more of very dry days for a drought to occur and the potential for a wildfire to happen.

He says homeowners need to maintain at least a 50 to 100 feet barrier between their home and any surrounding woodlands.

In the winter, people with wood stoves may put their wood piles closer to the house for convenience, but that is sitting fuel for a wildfire.Move it away from the house.
    
McCarthy says the biggest threat to homes is plant life that is seen most often in our own backyards.

"Pine, evergreens, rhododendron, mountain laurel, sometimes those are types of vegetation homeowners prefer but in a fire situation those are the fuels that are at most risk for combusion," said forestry officer Denny McCarthy.

Here's another tip: keep your lawn mowed.  A short, green lawn won't carry fire.

For more information and tips on fireproofing your home, visit:
http://www.dof.virginia.gov/fire/firewiseva/index.htm