Hardening homes and creating defensible space are the best ways to help protect homes and structures from wildfire. Defensible Space creates a buffer between a structure and the vegetation that surrounds it. Home Hardening addresses the most vulnerable components of a structure with building materials and installation techniques that increase resistance to heat, flames, and embers that accompany wildfires. Many home hardening measures are simple, low-cost retrofits for buildings and structures that decrease flammability potential.
MLFD will be conducting defensible space structure and landscape evaluations throughout the summer months to help owners/stewards of homes and other structures achieve effective defensible space and home hardening. Property owners within the Town of Mammoth Lakes may request a defensible space & home hardening evaluation.
Embers are as hot as the fire from which they originate, and are light enough to be carried by the wind for long distances. They are also the primary reason that homes and properties ignite when there is a wildfire nearby.
Defensible space is essential to improve your home's chance of surviving a wildfire. It's the buffer you create between a building on your property, and the grass, trees, shrubs, and wildland vegetation that surround it. This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it protects your home from catching fire either from direct flame contact or radiant heat. Defensible space is also important for the protection of the firefighters defending your home.
Fire-resistant tarps or covers are required on woodpiles from June 1st to September 30th of each year if 30 feet or more of clearance from a structure cannot be obtained. Tarps must prevent embers from getting in or around woodpiles and they must be properly secured. The tarp must comply with, at a minimum, the NFPA 701 Method 2 standard. Typical "poly" tarps available at a hardware store are not adequate. As an alternative, up to three sides of the woodpile may have a 1/16 inch metal screen, distanced at least one inch away from the firewood. The screen must be firmly attached to the deck rail or other permanent structure. Screens and tarps must completely cover and surround the woodpile. A wood box that completely surrounds the wood is also an acceptable means of compliance.