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San Bernadino, CA after 2003 wildfire. (www.photolibrary.fema.gov)

Wildfire in Virginia Lake. (www.photolib.noaa.gov)

  • Remove combustible materials away from structure
  • Create a “safety zone,” depending upon surrounding tree species
  • Remove all dead plants, shrubs, and trees
  • Locate shrubs a min. 20 feet away from structure
  • Select high-moisture plants that grow close to the ground
  • Be sensitive to historic landscape features
  • Cover exterior openings (vents, air intakes, etc.) with metal mesh screens
  • Identify nearby water sources
  • Add fire proof shutters to large windows
  • On the interior, remove flammable materials or use fire resistant  materials near window openings
  • Ensure HVAC system will automatically shut off or reverse fans5

4“Protect Your Property from Fire”, FEMA, 25 Jan 2007.

5 Michael Trinkley, “Protecting Your Institution from Wild Fires”, Preservation Services Leaflet, SOLINET, 29 Jan 2007.


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One Response to Preparing Historic Buildings and Sites for a Disaster

  1. sonnitex says:

    Aquí en Lorca ( España) hace un mes en el terremoto los edificios más afectados fueron los de ultima creación que se supone que contemplaban la normativa contra seismos. Sin embargo los más antiguos y que no estaban construidos bajo esta normativa, son los menos afectados ¿ como se Explica eso ?

    Here in Lorca (Spain) last month in the earthquake affected buildings were the latest creation is supposed to contemplated legislation against earthquakes. But the oldest and were not constructed under this policy, are less affected how do you explain that?

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