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Living with fire tip #21: What's your excuse?

Posted 10/23/2007

In the previous Living With Fire tips, we described some important steps you could take before a wildfire ever occurs that could save your home during a wildfire. In this final tip in the series, we ask, "Have you done them yet?" Despite awareness of the wildfire threat, many people still don't take action. Some of the common excuses given by homeowners include:

  • Defensible space won't look good. An effective defensible space and an attractive landscape can be compatible goals; it just takes some planning and knowledge.
  • Insurance will pay to replace everything if it burns. Insurance can replace a house, but not a home. You can't replace family albums, grandma's china, favorite toys, and other memorabilia.
  • I don't have the time or money to do it. Most of us have some discretionary time and money. If you live in a fire hazard area, making your home safer from the threat of wildfire needs to be a high priority.
  • It's not my responsibility to protect my home from wildfire; it's the fire department's job. Under extreme fire conditions, there is only so much that firefighters can do, and they may not be able to defend every home being threatened. Firefighters need your help to make your home a safe place to defend and to improve its odds of survival.
  • A wildfire is not going to occur in my neighborhood. This year's fire season has proven that wildfire can strike almost anywhere and in any month in northern Nevada. If you live near dry weeds, cheatgrass, sagebrush, pinyon pine, juniper trees, or forest, chances are good that a wildfire will occur nearby. It's just a matter of time.

To continue to learn more about protecting your home from the threat of wildfire, visit or contact Ed Smith, natural resources specialist, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, (775) 782-9960 or . Living With Fire is an interagency program coordinated by University of Nevada Cooperative Extension.

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