Is your home and/or business ready for a wildfire? If you’ve been maintaining your property regularly, can you identify the areas of your home and/or business that require further mitigation?
Various experts have provided ways to evaluate your property or business using Home Risk Assessment tools. Sometimes these tools address Home Risk, or Defensible Space. No matter what the name, any and all of the tools listed here are based on the scientific research into wildfire behavior and its effects that has been conducted by the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).
In most cases, you can conduct the assessment yourself. This is especially useful ahead of a formal inspection or application for a formal safety or readiness designation.
Certain Home Risk Assessments can carry further privileges or requirements, so be sure to choose the type that will work for your situation.
- IBHS – Following the 2018 Camp Fire, the Institute for Business and Home Safety instituted a Wildfire Prepared Home™ program. This designation can provide some peace of mind at the parcel level. Some insurance agents use this program to require homeowners to purchase or renew their property insurance. To understand what’s involved, download the form and read more details here. For businesses, more specific information can be found here: https://disastersafety.org/wildfire/wildfire-ready-business/
- AB38 Inspection – On and after July 1, 2021 when you sell property that is located in a high or very high fire hazard severity zone, which the South Lake Fire Protection District currently is, you’ll need documentation of a compliant Defensible Space Inspection. AB38 requires a Seller to disclose the wildfire-readiness status of the house they are selling to the Buyer. The Seller is not required to clear the defensible space that may be needed, but the wildfire-readiness condition of the lot may become a point for negotiation of the final sale.
- CAL FIRE Defensible Space – By completing a Defensible Space Self-Assessment, you will have a greater understanding of how Defensible Space and Home Hardening can help save your home from the effects of devastating wildfires. Filling out this form can help you educate yourself, and can also help a Seller prepare ahead of time for an AB38 inspection.
- Home Risk Assessment – Homeowner associations will often include wildfire safety compliance in their Covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs), i.e., what you can and can’t or must do with your home. Community-level safety increases safety for everyone in that neighborhood.
- Firewise Communities® – Some Firewise Communities are equipped to conduct home risk assessments and community risk assessments, using one of the above forms. Firewise Community members can be very helpful in sharing their experience meeting the guidelines and checklists. Check https://firesafelake.org/firewise-community-map/ for a list and map of the Firewise Communities in Lake County.