"If you compare wildfire to other natural hazards or threats, prevention is the most affordable and achievable (thing to do) because you can do most of it yourself," says Leslie Chapman-Henderson, president of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes, or FLASH.
You can boost your home's odds of avoiding destruction with some relatively simple steps:
1. Create a "defensible space": Cut, trim and clear tree branches from around the chimney and roof, leaves out of gutters and eaves, and debris and vegetation from under patio decks and next to the house.
2. Replace a flammable roof: A nonflammable roof rated a Class A, B or C by Underwriters Laboratories is a good precaution against wildfire.
3. Box or screen eaves, soffits and vents: Embers can enter the house through open eaves and vents on exterior walls, or near the roofline and foundation. Cover those with a one-eighth-inch metal screen or temporarily seal them when fire threatens.
4. Install fire-resistant windows and siding: Replace single-pane windows with dual-pane tempered glass. Dual panes are two sheets of glass with space between them. Single-pane windows are more susceptible to breakage from exposure to a wildfire's heat.
5. Help the firefighters: Make sure your street name and house number are clearly visible to emergency crews. Driveways should be at least 12 feet wide with a vertical clearance of at least 15 feet to allow easy access by fire trucks.