Portland’s proximity to natural spaces and lush urban vegetation is a part of what makes our city so unique. However, those same factors can also place Portland’s homes at a greater risk of wildfires. Recent years have shown that suburban living is no guaranteed protection from the devastation of a raging fire. By the time the danger becomes clear, it’s usually too late for residents to adequately protect their homes. Landlords in Portland stand to lose not only their primary residence in a wildfire, but also their investment property and income. Rather than waiting for the worst to happen, here’s what you need to know about Portland’s risk of wildfires and how to keep your property safe.
Are Wildfires a Risk in Portland?
Despite being an urban area, Portland is still at risk for severe damage to life and property from wildfires. The vegetation which makes our city so green can provide fuel for a blaze, and the area’s steep topography spreads fires quickly. The city’s dense population also means that a fire will impact many residents and may spread more easily from home to home. Our hot summers and seasonal dry winds mean that a wildfire in or near Portland could have devastating consequences for unprepared homeowners.
Protect Your Property From Wildfires
Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent your home from being exposed to wildfire on an individual level. If a fire begins in your area, the best way to give your property a chance at surviving intact is to have already completed your fireproofing preparations.
Fortify Your Roof
A house’s roof is one of the most critical areas regarding wildfire defense. A fire-resistant roof can help a home emerge from a fire with far less damage. If you need to replace your roof soon, you might consider choosing a Class A-rated roof with noncombustible coverings. Installing roofs with fire-resistant materials can also prevent a fire from starting on your roof and spreading to the rest of your home. Installing eaves with short overhangs and flat ledges can also provide less space for wildfire embers to land and burn.
Create a 30-Foot Perimeter
Creating space between your home and the flammable vegetation surrounding it is another excellent way to avoid damage from wildfires. When considering your landscaping, avoid placing vegetation close to the side of your home, where it could cause a fire to spread to the building itself. Gravel or stone patios create non-flammable spaces around a home without sacrificing the property’s curb appeal.
Use Fire-Resistant Exterior Wall Coverings
Fire-resistant siding or other external wall coverings can help protect your house from embers like a fire-resistant roof can. Windows may shatter in the heat, allowing embers to find a way inside. When a fire has a more difficult time catching on the exterior of your home, it’s far less likely to spread.
Remove Debris From Roofs and Gutters
Proper seasonal maintenance is crucial to the overall safety of your home, but it can also help protect it from wildfires. In our rainy winters, moss and other vegetation can start to grow and clog our rooftops. Without adequate removal in the summertime, this vegetation can make even a fire-resistant rooftop susceptible to embers. Stay on top of your maintenance to keep your home protected.
Protect Large Windows from Heat
Multi-pane windows, fireproof shutters, or tempered safety glass can help prevent windows from breaking in the heat of a wildfire. This can help prevent the fire from spreading from the exterior of your house inside.
Make Sure Street Signs are Visible to Emergency Vehicles
Emergency vehicles may need to quickly navigate to your home in the middle of an emergency. Make sure your house’s street number and other identifying signs are clearly visible to make it easy to find.
Get Familiar With Your Home’s Insurance
It’s best to know what your insurance will cover before a wildfire hits. Ensure that you are taking all the required steps to qualify for wildfire coverage and to more efficiently process a claim if your house is a victim of fire damage.
Emphasize Wildfire Safety
The most crucial aspect of wildfire safety is protecting the people who live on a property. This is part of what makes preparation so important: in the heat of a wildfire crisis, there is little time to review safety precautions or reread guides. The “Ready, Set, Go” method is a simple but effective way to save lives in the midst of wildfire danger:
Ready: Prepare your property for the risk of wildfires by following the steps above. If a wildfire has started in the area but is not yet an immediate threat, clear a 30-foot perimeter around your home and make sure you have water on hand. Always keep emergency supplies assembled for a quick escape, and know what route to take during an evacuation.
Set: If a fire is approaching, remain aware of the situation and stay connected to your local news to stay aware of changing conditions. Pack your emergency items and be ready to leave.
Go: Leave as early as possible to avoid the threat of an oncoming wildfire. This keeps you and your tenants safe while supporting firefighters by keeping the roads clear.
Always be Prepared for Wildfire Threats
The best way to protect your property from the dangers of wildfire damage is by always being ready for the possibility that a fire may occur. By taking steps to reduce your home’s vulnerability to wildfire, you’ll be helping ensure that your renters and property investment will safely make it through the danger. If you have more questions about how to assess your property’s risk for wildfires in the Portland metro area, Rent Portland Homes by Darla Andrew is here to help. We’ve operated in Portland for years and have seen the impact local fires have had on Portland properties. For more information, call or text us at (503) 515-3170 or reach out on the contact page on our website.