How to make your home “Firewise” this dry season

According to experts, being “Firewise” is a proactive way to keep your home safer from fire this dry season.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 8:44 PM EST
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Over the last several weeks there have been numerous wildfires in the region. According to experts, being “Firewise” is a proactive way to keep your home safer from fire this dry season.

Public Information Officer for Rural Metro Fire Jeff Bagwell said the number one thing to remember is to keep common fire fuels away from your home.

“The one thing we want you to do is keep all the dead vegetation away from your house, and that includes the leaves,” said Bagwell. “Leaves like to blow up against your foundation, up against the outside walls. We want you to keep that away from your house at least 50 feet, preferably more like 100.”

Bagwell said pine needles and dead grass are also easily flammable, making them a danger to homes. He said you should also make sure these items are cleared out of gutters. He said propane and gas grills should be kept far from the home too.

There is currently a burn ban in Tennessee, but there are other ways to dispose of dead vegetation.

“You can put them into a compost pile,” said Bagwell. “You can also, I hate to say this, but you can have somebody come pick them up and haul them away. That’s better than trying to set them on fire. Which is what a lot of people want to do is to burn them and we don’t want you burning leaves.”

A lack of moisture makes fires more common and difficult to contain. Bagwell said keeping your lawn watered as well as having a water source nearby is a good habit to make your house Firewise.

According to Assistant District Forester Nathan Waters it’s important to have a plan in place if a wildfire does break out.

“It is dry right now so just be careful when you’re outside,” said Waters. “If you see smoke or if you accidentally cause a fire. You know, get over the embarrassment. Call 911 because the sooner the fire department gets there and hits it, and if needed can call us and we can get out and get the dozer on it, the smaller it’s going to be.”

You can find more information and details on making your house Firewise here.