Be Firesmart About Fences – Three Tips

Do you have wooden fences attached to or adjacent to buildings? If so, they can be a way for wildfire to cross all of your Firesmart zones and ignite your home or other buildings.

In a recent Texas wildfire, part of this old wooden fence took the fire right to the structure that once stood in the right portion of the photo.

While well-maintained and painted wooden fences MAY NOT EASILY ignite if you keep them clear of flammable vegetation and other materials, they WILL burn if ignited. And that can carry fire to any structures they are attached to, or that are close by.

Here are three tips:

1. Treat wooden fences as “fuels” and do not have them within the 30-foot zone of buildings.

2. Consider your wooden fences as if they were a building, and give them the same Firesmart treatments as any of you other structures.

3. If fences are needed for animal exclusion or containment, use metal fencing near buildings.

Note: Plastic fences, with steel posts, generally melt rather than burn, but are not 100% nonflammable when the fire is hot.

A house saved only because the firefighters removed a gate.

A weathered fence under the eaves. Not good.