May 4th, Wildfire Community Preparedness Day

The 2023 wildfire season in Washington and Oregon witnessed approximately 178,436 acres scorched across Washington (165,365) and Oregon (13,071), a stark contrast to the 776,300 consumed by flames during the 2022 wildfire season. Despite last year’s milder wildfire season, less than 10% of at-risk communities have developed a Community Wildfire Protection Plan, underscoring the critical need for proactive measures to protect your home and community.

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, observed on May 4, encourages individual and collective action to enhance awareness and reduce wildfire risks. It also marks the beginning of National Wildfire Awareness Month. This time of year bring the onset of warmer weather and the drying of wildland vegetation signaling the need to begin planning for wildfires. Simple projects like those outlined below, bolster the resilience of homes, neighborhoods, and communities against the threat of wildfires.

“Everyone suffers when wildfires affect our communities, and it’s up to each of us to take important steps to protect our properties and communities,” said Calvin Strong, Chief Claims Officer.  “We encourage Pacific Northwest residents to participate in Wildfire Community Preparedness Day and work to create a defensible perimeter around your home.”


Here’s what you can do to fortify your house:

  1. Clean your gutters. Accumulated leaves and needles provide tinder for floating embers.
  1. Screen eave and foundation vents with 1/8-inch wire mesh to keep out blowing embers.
  1. Remove boards, debris, and wood-handled tools stashed under decks. They can provide fuel for a fire that’s spreading along the ground.
  1. Screen under decks with 1/8-inch mesh. That prevents ignition from floating embers.
  1. Break up wood fences with metal gates. Fire can easily run along a wood fence, meaning your fence can give fire a pathway straight to your house. A metal gate or shield can interrupt the flames.

For more wildfire tips: