How to Help Prepare Your Home for Wildfire Season

How to Help Prepare Your Home for Wildfire Season

The United States experiences as many as 60,000 wildfires and inflicts damage on millions of acres annually. These wildfires, characterized by their uncontrolled and rapid spread, pose not only immediate threats to ecosystems and communities but also leave a trail of devastation that extends beyond the flames. Moreover, the aftermath of wildfires introduces a lingering danger in the form of mudslides, as the loss of vegetation destabilizes the soil and puts properties in their path at high risk for damage and, in severe cases, complete devastation. Understanding the multifaceted impact of wildfires, and their potential to trigger hazardous mudslides, emphasizes the importance of implementing effective preventive measures.

What is a Wildfire?

A wildfire is an unplanned, uncontrolled, and rapidly spreading fire that ignites and spreads across combustible landscapes of vegetation, forests, or grasslands. It is typically fueled by dry conditions, high temperatures, and strong winds, and can cover vast areas in a short period of time.

Wildfires are distinct from controlled burns and other such intentional fires. Disaster prevention and response analysts categorize wildfires based on the following criteria:

  • The ignition's source
  • The fire's physical properties
  • The type of matter that is fueling the fire
  • The effect of weather on the fire

Fire Subtypes

Fire subtypes refer to different classifications of fires based on various characteristics and factors. They help categorize wildfires based on their behavior, impacts, and required firefighting approaches.

  • Ground Fires – These types of fires can be exacerbated by the shape and layout of the land, which dictates the types of plants present. Additionally, direct sunlight can affect the likelihood of a ground fire.
  • Crawling or Surface Fire – In this type of fire, leaf and timber litter and low-lying shrubbery ignite and cause a fire on the ground level. Surface fire burns at a cooler temperature than other varieties, and it is typically slower spreading, though the wind and other factors may accelerate this.
  • Ladder Fires – Plants that scale trees, such as vines, may encourage ladder fires. Ladder fires are typically hotter in temperature than crawling or surface fires and may spread more quickly.

What Causes a Wildfire?

Wildfires can be ignited by a variety of factors, each contributing to the unpredictable and often devastating spread of these fires. The type of ignition source affects the severity and can even create several independent wildfires.


One of the natural causes of wildfires is lightning. When lightning strikes dry vegetation, it can generate enough heat to ignite a fire. These fires often occur in remote or forested areas, where human intervention is limited, and can occur in multiple places, simultaneously, in a vulnerable region.

Spontaneous Combustion

In a spontaneous combustion wildfire, decomposing organic material — such as hay, dried grass, mulch, etc. — generate heat through internal chemical reactions or bacterial activity until it reaches the ignition point for that particular material. Adequate oxygen, significant heat, and fuel are all required for a spontaneous combustion event to occur.

Rock Falls

Rock falls might seem unrelated, but they can also trigger wildfires. When rocks collide during a fall, they can create sparks that ignite dry vegetation below. This can be particularly problematic in arid regions where flammable materials are abundant and susceptible to catching fire.

Human Activity

Human activities play a significant role in igniting wildfires. These activities include discarded cigarette butts, unattended campfires, sparks from equipment or power lines, and intentional acts of arson.

Environmental Factors that Increase Wildfire Risk to Property

Certain factors contribute to creating environments more susceptible to wildfires. Some environmental factors include:

  • Weather patterns in the area
  • The type of vegetation native to the region
  • The type and extent of human habitation on the land

How Weather Conditions Can Facilitate Wildfires

Weather conditions play a pivotal role in the ignition and rapid spread of wildfires. Hot and dry weather, often exacerbated by drought, creates a conducive environment for wildfires to ignite and thrive. When humidity levels drop and moisture in vegetation diminishes, the flammable materials become more susceptible to catching fire.

Strong winds further escalate the danger, carrying embers across distances and swiftly spreading the flames.

Thunderstorms can pose a dual threat, as while lightning may directly spark fires, the accompanying gusty winds and low humidity intensify fire behavior, making containment efforts exceedingly challenging. Stormwater in the aftermath of a wildfire presents an additional threat, leaving sloped and deforested landscapes at high risk for devastating mudslides.

The Impact of Wildfires

Wildfires benefit natural environments, as they paradoxically stimulate new plant growth, which can help support the entire ecosystem in the area. However, the impact of unplanned wildfires on humans and structures can be severe. The risk of fire-related deaths, fire damage to homes and businesses, and health risks due to smoke inhalation are some apparent threats to populated areas. Wildfires present several indirect financial costs: homeowner's insurance premiums, utility provider-related costs, etc.

Another consequence of wildfires that should be significantly recognized is the occurrence of mudslides in newly deforested areas. When a wildfire wipes out plant life on a hill or slope, the underlying earth is destabilized and becomes susceptible to mudslides. This can create an entirely new set of risks for any property in their path.

Is My Land at Risk of a Wildfire or Mudslide?

There are several conditions that may make your property a prime wildfire location. The conditions which make land susceptible to wildfire include, but are not limited to:

  • Drought or Dry Weather
  • High Winds
  • High temperatures and low humidity
  • Dry Vegetation
  • Steep slopes and rugged terrain

Mudslides may occur in the aftermath of a wildfire, particularly if followed by a rainy season. If your area is vulnerable to wildfires, you may also be vulnerable to mudslides, especially if you’re at the bottom of a slope. If you're concerned about your property's vulnerability to wildfires and subsequent mudslides, you can check a website maintained by the U.S. Forest Service to determine if your area is at high risk.

Can I Protect My Home from the Aftermath of Wildfires?

If the area around your property is at high risk for wildfires, your property may be vulnerable to post-wildfire mudslides and debris flow. Fortunately, you can take measures to mitigate damage. By creating a defensible space around your home, you can limit the possibility of a mudslide from breaching your property line.

Creating a Defensible Space

When it comes to post-fire debris, a defensible space is simply an area around your property, at least 30 feet in diameter, that is guarded by a protective barrier. EvoGuard's Extreme Weather Barrier is a customizable, flexible barrier effectively used to protect homes and properties from mudslides and debris flow.

How the EvoGuard Extreme Weather Barrier Works

The EvoGuard Extreme Weather Barrier is a trenchless system that is installed with positive contact with the earth’s surface and positioned for the containment of solids such as soil, mud, and sediment. As solids are collected, mass and weight are added to the system, increasing the barrier’s strength and function.

EvoGuard protects against fast moving surface water. When water impacts the system, the speed of flow is reduced, and water distributes evenly across the barrier at a normalized, less destructive, rate.

The containment of solids and neutralization of wind and water allow surface areas and slopes to revegetate and stabilize, providing both immediate protection and a long-term solution to your eroding land.

Installing Your Extreme Weather Resistant Barrier

To install the EvoGuard Extreme Weather Barrier:

  1. Roll out the technical mesh barrier along the intended area of protection.
  2. Slide the stakes into the integrated post sleeves.
  3. Drive the stakes into the ground until the lower rope channel makes positive contact.
  4. Repeat until all stakes are installed.
  5. Secure the containment toe of the mesh with the ground pegs.

EvoGuard barriers can be combined for larger properties, and excess mesh can be easily rolled into the final stake. Custom bulk orders are also available for larger or commercial projects.

Resistance to Impacts, Heat, and Post-wildfire Rain and Debris Flow

The EvoGuard Extreme Weather Barrier is a high-performance system that offers multiple advantages. It’s lightweight and easy to maneuver but can withstand over 22,000 lbs/sf of static bursting strength.

The technical mesh is rated as fire-retardant by the American Society for Testing and Materials and is manufactured with UV protection. It is developed with rip-stop technology, allowing for penetration without unraveling, so the system can endure the impact of an isolated event without weakening or damaging any of the remaining panels. Unlike other perimeter barrier systems, EvoGuard is constructed with post sleeves that fully integrate the stakes, maximizing its structural integrity.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wildfires

These are some of the most commonly asked questions about wildfires, their spread, and their prevention.

Do I Need a Professional to Install an EvoGuard Extreme Weather Barrier?

No, you don't. EvoGuard can be installed by just about anyone who can swing a hammer and lift between 6-44 pounds (depending on which system is purchased).

Do I Need to Use the Full Length of the System?

No. EvoGuard's Resources page has a video on how to roll up and secure the remaining mesh barrier at the final staking post.

How Difficult is Removing an EvoGuard Extreme Weather Barrier System After the Danger has Passed?

EvoGuard is reusable. Some prefer to leave their systems in place and allow vegetation to grow through and around the system. In other cases, it may be used as needed, seasonally, or in a different location on your property. In these instances, you can reverse the process for installation, roll up the technical mesh, and store it in your garage or basement for future use.

How Does the EvoGuard Weather Barrier System Stop Post-Wildfire Rain and Debris Flow?

The EvoGuard Extreme Weather Barrier is a trenchless solution that establishes direct contact with the ground and contains solids like soil, mud, and sediment. Accumulated solids enhance the barrier's strength and effectiveness. EvoGuard shields against surface water, moderating its impact and distributing it evenly at a less destructive rate. By containing solids and neutralizing wind and water, affected slopes are given the opportunity to revegetate and restabilize, delivering both instant protection and a long-term erosion solution for your land.

EvoGuard for Your Home

If you live in a high wildfire-risk area or are just concerned about the potential aftermath of wildfires, you should consider the EvoGuard Extreme Weather Barrier for your property or investment. Order complete EvoGuard DIY Kit or EvoGuard Pro today!