How to Prepare

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Fences

Your fence can be a hazard if it connects directly to your home. The bottom of fences can collect dry debris, which when combined with combustible fencing material, can become a fuel source acting as a wick bringing fire directly to the structure. Additionally, similar to a burning building or burning vegetation, burning fencing will also generate embers that can cause other ignitions.

Fencing: Wildfire Research Fact Sheet

  • Use a noncombustible fencing whenever possible and especially if it attaches directly to the home.
  • The area at the base of the fence should be kept clear of debris. Flame spread to the building will be more likely if fine vegetation fuels (i.e. pine needles, leaf litter and small twigs) have accumulated. Avoid placement of combustible mulch near the fence.
  • A fence design that allows for greater air flow, such as a single panel lattice fence, makes it more difficult for wind-blown embers to accumulate at plank, or lattice panel to horizonal support locations. Fence ignitions from wind-blown embers are more likely to occur at locations where vertical fencing planks attach to horizontal support members. The most vulnerable fencing from this perspective is a “privacy” fence, where the fence planks are on the same side as the horizontal support members.
  • A fence built from lattice that is applied to both sides of the support posts may be desired for privacy or other landscaping purposes but should be avoided in wildfire-prone areas. Recent research has shown fire spread to be much greater in this design style.
  • Vinyl fencing is not vulnerable to ember exposures alone but did burn when subjected to flaming exposures from burning debris. Vinyl fencing will deform if subjected to radiant heat.

Material approved by the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM): Buildings Materials Listing- Search Listing Services

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