Simple steps to save your home from fire

YUCAIPA, Calif. The raging Pendleton fire last month burned 860 acres in Yucaipa, and destroyed two structures. Norm Monson's home is at the top of a hill. The fire burned all around.

"The scary part was watching it come across the road, and then seeing this 100 foot wall of flame come up the hill," said Monson.

The Pendleton fire came close to Monson's home, right up to the back wall. But because this homeowner did so many things right, his home is still standing.

It started with a simple call to the local fire station.

"When we first moved here, we asked the Bryant Street station guys to come up and tell us what to do to make it safe," explained Monson.

"That's what we get paid to do, it's not a problem," said Bill Peters of CalFire.

Peters said the fire department's first recommendation was to add gravel to the perimeter.

"It's almost as if we have a moat of rocks around the castle here, to help keep the fire from encroaching," said Peters.

Peters added that it was good that the plants and shrubs were minimal, and away from the home.

"As we see, very very good in the fact that they are away from the home," said Peters.

There is room for improvement however:

  • It's a good idea to make sure eves are covered to prevent embers from entering.
  • Double-pane windows are also important.
  • And make sure to get the family together beforehand and map out an escape route.
"But everything else, you look at the roof, you have a tile roof, we have a good stucco construction, metal doors to the outside, so a lot of good measures to make this a good defensible home," said Monson.

Still, Monson said it wasn't just his efforts that saved his home.

"You can have all the defensible space in the world, we did everything we thougt we could do and do right here but when it comes right down to it, those are the guys who make the difference," said Monson as he referred to the firefighters.

But firefighters say they can only make that difference at homes where residents were ready.

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