The combination of increased risk and high-value assets makes fire protection at farms and ranches a high priority. The first step in minimizing the fire and wildfire risk is increased knowledge and awareness.
It's never too early to prepare. Take several basic steps right now to protect your family, farm/ranch and property from disaster.
When building or remodeling, meet the most-recently-approved requirements of your state and local building, electrical and fire codes. Where possible, use ignition-resistant or noncombustible building materials and:
Install smoke detectors and fire alarms. Consider sprinkler systems and carbon monoxide detectors where appropriate
Locate new buildings a safe distance from other structures to prevent the rapid spread of fire
Regularly cut vegetation between barns or other farm buildings that are 50 feet or less from one another, and maintain a cleared area of 30 feet from those buildings
To minimize the risk of fire occurring on or near farm machinery:
Make sure exhaust systems (including manifolds, mufflers and turbochargers) are free of leaks and in good working order. Avoid parking hot machinery on or near dry grass or other dry vegetation.
Follow instructions when installing and operating farm machinery.
Follow maintenance schedules and regularly clean off chaff, dust and other combustible materials.
Keep fully charged fire extinguishers on tractors and combines, and near all farm machinery.
Welders, grinders and cutting torches should only be used in clean areas, at least 35 feet away from any flammable and combustible materials. Welding curtains should be used to minimize the spread of sparks.
To decrease the chance of your home and operation being susceptible to a wildfire:
Remove vegetation from within at least 30 feet of residences and farm buildings.
Create noncombustible zones around spaces where equipment, fuel, hay and chemicals are stored.
Create and maintain appropriate types and sizes of fire guards around pastures and crops.
Keep roofs free of combustible debris and materials, and enclose eaves.
Don’t store combustible materials under elevated platforms, and enclose the areas under them with mesh screen to prevent burning embers from accumulating in these areas.
Construct and update farm buildings using ignition-resistant and noncombustible materials, including siding, chimneys, roofs, doors and windows.
Consider installing sprinklers to protect residences, farm buildings and vegetation.
Regional wildfire safety and risk management guides
Wildfire risks can vary from region to region due to variations in topography, climate and vegetation. To help property owners better understand their risks, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety developed the following guides to help property owners assess their wildfire risk: