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Living With Fire Tip #14: Did You Pass Your Screen Test?

Posted 7/17/2008

A common reason homes burn during wildfires is because of flying embers, or firebrands, entering attics or foundations through unscreened vents. Often, these embers cause an ignition inside a home that can go undetected by firefighters. When the fire finally becomes obvious from the outside, it may be too late to save the home.

Without screened vents, even homes with adequate defensible space and fire-resistant roofs can be destroyed. To make your home safer from the threat of wildfire:

  • Cover all of your home’s exterior attic and foundation vents with one-quarter-inch or less wire mesh.
  • Do not use plastic mesh, as it can melt.
  • Remove flammable shrubs, such as juniper, and woodpiles from in front of foundation vents and below eave vents.

In the event that a wildfire is approaching and there is time, quickly make aluminum foil covers for each vent, folding the aluminum foil to be three or four layers thick. Staple the covers over the vents.

Taking these simple steps could increase the chances of your home surviving a wildfire.

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

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