When Is Fire Season in California? We Answer Your Questions About Fire Season

Unfortunately, fire season in California is the entire year. What was once just the summer season has now become a reality at almost any time. As fires become more frequent it’s even more important for homeowners to be prepared for a sudden emergency. Learn what steps to take to prepare for wildfires and keep your family safe.

Prepare the Outside of Your Home

Move Flammables 30+ Feet Away from the Home

Flammable objects in your yard should always be kept at least 30 feet away from your home, including propane tanks, power equipment, oil and gas cans, and containers with flammable liquids. Furniture and toys can also be flammable, so be sure to move them away in the event of a wildfire. Move all flammable objects, like the propane pictured here, at least 30 feet away from your home.

Clean Out All Gutters and Outdoor Surfaces

Gutters, patios, and roofs can harbor flammable debris like dead leaves or pine needles. These can catch an ember and set your house on fire, so be sure to clean out your gutters regularly and keep debris under control. This also applies to your roof and deck. Anything surrounding the gutters needs to be cleaned as well.

Keep Flammable Vegetation 5+ Feet Away from the Home

Some plants are flammable and increase your risk of your home catching on fire. These include eucalyptus, rosemary, cypress, and some ornamental grasses. Avoid planting or potting these near your home and replace them with fire-resistant plants as a privacy screen.

Trim Your Trees and Shrubs

Trees or shrubs that have overhanging branches close to your roof or chimney are a fire risk. Keep your large plants trimmed to ensure nothing is within 10 feet of your home. Overhanging shrubbery can also be detrimental to your condenser. Keeping trees and shrubs trimmed is an important part of overall yard maintenance. Image: a pair of pruning shears cutting a tree branch. It's best practice to always keep your yard well groomed, but this matters more during California fire season.

Keep Grass Short

Keep your lawn trimmed short and thoroughly watered. If you’re trying to conserve water, avoid flammable debris or plants within 30 feet of your home. Dry grass is incredibly flammable. If you’ve been thinking about redoing your yard, now is the chance to.

Prepare the Inside of Your Home

Make Sure to Close the Fireplace Flue

A fireplace flue is designed to let pollutants out of your home when you have a fire. Be sure your flue is closed if there’s a wildfire to prevent pollutants and burning embers from coming in through your chimney.

Mind Your Indoor Air Quality

Your indoor air quality is difficult to maintain when there’s smoke pollution. Avoid adding to it with candles, incense, cooking, or smoking cigarettes. Additionally, if your home includes someone who suffers from allergies, you may want to cut down on the use of beauty products and aerosol sprays. Image: woman spraying aerosol spray in a room. When you're worried about your indoor air quality, stay away from room air fresheners.

Seal and Weatherstrip the Windows

Windows with damaged seals can allow clean air to leave and polluted air to come in. Seal and weatherstrip your windows to ensure they have a strong barrier to outdoor air.

Consider a Portable Air Purifier

Get a portable air purifier to maintain your indoor air quality. You can also install a high-efficiency HVAC filter to protect your home from smoke and pollution.

Regularly Check and Change Your Air Filter

Maintain your HVAC system regularly and be sure to inspect and replace your air filter as needed. If a wildfire occurs, you will need this air filter to maintain your indoor air quality. While we recommend changing your air filter twice per year, you should check it after a fire to make sure it’s still functional. Image: a dirty and clean air filter side by side. Always check your air filter, you never know what you could be breathing in.

Get an Air Filter with a High MERV Rating

To determine how strong an air filter is, it’s given a number on the MERV rating scale. The higher the number, the more indoor air contaminants an air filter can trap. A MERV 13 or higher air filter can help you manage your indoor air quality during a wildfire. This filter is better at keeping small particles out, including smoke particle pollution during wildfires. Speak to an HVAC technician about filters that are available for your HVAC system.

Make Sure Your HVAC System Is Set to “Recirculate” or Close the Fresh Air Intake

If your HVAC system has a fresh air intake, make sure it’s closed during wildfires. You can put your system into recirculate mode to keep your home ventilated and clean. This is similar to what you would do with your car. There are times when people would choose to recirculate the air in their car.

Stock Up on N95 Masks

An N95 respirator mask is the best option for safe breathing during wildfire activity. Get plenty of N95 masks to keep in your home for your family, along with some extras, to be ready in case of a wildfire. Image: a stack of PPE including N95 masks and paper masks.

Make a Family Plan

Sign Up for Local Emergency Alerts

Local emergency alerts are available through websites, social media, radio, and television and even your phone. Be sure to sign up for alerts from local authorities and know where to go for the most up-to-date information when wildfires occur.

Establish a “Safe Place”

Set up a clean room in your home where you and your family can go if the smoke is severe. This room should have few windows or doors, no fireplace, and some provisions.

Make a “Go Bag”

Prepare a “go bag” with necessities like medications, financial and personal documents, and cash or credit cards. This should be packed and ready to go if you have to evacuate.

Don’t Forget Any Pets

Your evacuation plan should include details for what you’ll do in an emergency, including how you’ll care for your pets. Keep vaccination records, medications, food, and supplies like collars and leashes in your go bag or close at hand for an emergency.

How Long Does Fire Season in California Last?

Though wildfire season used to be from June to October, it’s now a risk all year in California. Residents need to prepare for wildfires at any time with thorough planning. Image: a firetruck on the highway with it's lights blaring. Prepare your HVAC system for wildfires and smoke with help from Moore Home Services. Contact us today!