Unofficial Firewise Self-Assessment Checklist

Wildland Urban Interface Home Assessment (facsimile)

This unofficial Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Self Assessment 'tool' is on the web for discussion and educational purposes. Fear of the unknown can make a home owner reluctant to have their property 'inspected'. We hope this transparent page dispels any such fear, and that you will feel more confident after assessing your own property.

After you have done your self-prescribed cleanup, you may still want to consider signing up for a professional assessment to take you to the next level of awesomeness.

The page was made referring to a WUI form in Summer 2022. The actual form used for your assessment in the future may differ! The recomendations from several completed reports are given toward the end as examples.

Use this form at your own risk. Send your comments and suggestions via Contact Us below.

J Miller's comments here are indicated [comment - JM].

Structural Overview

Answer each with Yes, No, N/A.

Possible Suggestions that may get checked off:

Landscape Maintenance

Divided in to any Immediate Zone (0-5 feet), Intermediate Zone (5-30 feet, and optionally, Extended Zone (30-100 feet),

Landscape Maintenance - Immediate Zone (0-5 feet)

Answer with Yes, No, N/A

Possible Suggestions that may get checked off:

Landscape Maintenance - Intermediate Zone (5-30 feet)

Answer with Yes, No, N/A

Possible Suggestions that may get checked off.

Landscape Maintenance - Extended Zone (30-100 feet)

Overall Category CHECKBOX for Not Applicable - □

Possible Suggestions that may get checked off:

Example recommendations from real assessments

May want to consider trimming vegetation up "Bonsai" style to break up the fuels and disconnect the ground fuels from the larger trees. You can consider keeping anything that can burn away from the fence. Consider trimming the Maple back from the structure.

Consider skirting the attached shed, or ensure it is clear of combustibles underneath. The same for the other outbuildings, keeping vegetation away to protect them from embers and limbed up. Consider keeping Magnolia and Laurel as far back from home as possible.

Consider trimming the bushes up and away from the deck. If you want to keep the Rhody, consider keeping dry tinder material out from under it so that it's mineral soil or gravel around it.

You are doing a great job protecting your home from wildfire. Just keep trimming up vegetation to provide clearance from the forest floor. Try to keep fuels separate from each other, this breaks up the continuity of the fuels to make it difficult for fire to spread.

Consider prioritizing the gutter cleaning and the screening over the gable end and crawl space vents.

Consider prioritizing the first 1-5 feet from the foundation out and then move to the branch clearing from the roof line and trimming up from the forest floor.

You have great trails around your property, consider removing any combustible material from the trails. This will help to break up the continuity of the fuel.

You have a beautiful property. Remember defensible space is all about isolation and separation, isolate the fuels from one another and separate the fuels from the forest floor.

Recommendations: create an evacuation to-do list, perform a 360 evaluation at a 1-2 evacuation level to remove combustibles away from the house, before evacuating open fence gates

Recommendations: metal/non combustible fence post up against house, keep basement window well clear of debris and screen with 1/8th inch, create a break in ivy and fence, trim hedge next to front porch post

Recommendations: "bonsai" trim shrubs next to siding and windows, separate and isolate, remove bamboo over wiring, plastic away from house, keep pergola vine 1 ft from roof, replace plastic awning with metal, trim bamboo, remove holly

Recommend trimming rhododendron north side of house, especially trim up from ground. If evacuation, move combustibles away from house (hot tub cover, etc). Recommend that you trim back laurel from shed.

Recommend that you trim all trees 8-10' up from ground and ensure ladder fuels are trimmed. Recommend you trim all shrubs around house to create a non-combustible space around the house.

Recommend that if the screening on chimney is not a rated spark arrester, keep flue closed.

Recommend written evacuation plan. (Due to location and setting. --JM)

Consider leaving at level 2 instead of waiting for level 3. Remove anything near the home that can burn upon evacuating, such as lawn chair cushions, welcome mats, etc.

Notes from JM and PF&R educators

Consider forming "islands of Fuel". That is, gather and stack flammable material in one or more places removed from your buildings, and manage them there. (Rather that spread all over, with some near your buildings.)

Develop a plan for a possible evacuation — gathering things in the house, and organizing the yard into an even more fire-defensive state. (Firewise literature has Better Wording.)

Develop a step-by-step plan for the event of an evacuation.

Think about being Ready To Go at Level 1, and leaving at Level 2 — this because of limited egress routes that may quickly clog if everyone in our area waits till Level 3.

The benefit of having PF&R folks visit is that they can cite various principles that apply to your situation, and explain why things should be done. Examples: You want to keep a ground fire from advancing to the home, and keep plants pruned above the reach of a ground fire. They can identify 'ladder fuels' that may allow fire to reach up into trees and spread. Likewise, you want to avoid having dry needles (stuff) on your roof or in your gutters that can be ignited by firebrands. (Sparks can land on a roof, and skitter down into gutters.) And so on.

One last goodie: A deck with larger gaps between boards can allow sparks to fall through to the ground, rather than burning into a narrow dry crack. Dang!