In the Great Lakes region, an average of 6,000 wildfires burn more than 740,000 acres of land each year. Changing weather patterns, including prolonged drought, are making many houses and businesses increasingly vulnerable to larger and more destructive fires. In rural areas, where the wildfire risks often are the greatest, houses and businesses may be located farther apart and not as accessible for firefighters. This guide was created for property owners in the states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin who are looking for solutions to reduce their risk of wildfire damage. The guide takes into account regional building styles and construction materials, common topographical characteristics, and other risk factors identified by fire science research. While wildfire protection begins with the individual, this research proves that a community-wide approach to fire protection is the most effective, so please share this guide with neighbors and friends. If something combustible is located within a 100-foot perimeter of your house or business (including your neighbor’s house, business, surroundings or landscaping), it could potentially increase your risk of wildfire damage. Everyone benefits from a wildfire-adaptive community.
Wildfire research has shown that individuals and families can protect their properties against wildfires by addressing three clear sources of vulnerability: the house or business itself, the landscaping nearby and the vegetation in the area surrounding the structure. Each of these sources can be dealt with through maintenance, material and design improvements and vegetation control. Many of these projects are affordable and can be done over a weekend. Some of the projects have the added financial benefit of improving energy efficiency.