Some people may not know what off-the-grid or off-grid means, so here it is --- The term off-the-grid or off-grid refers to living in a self-sufficient manner without reliance on one or more public utilities.

Off-grid living is no longer a one room log cabin in the woods. It's energy independency. You don't have to rely on utility companies, you create your own power. Today, there are more than 180,000 off-grid homes in the US.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Wildfire Defensible Space...

75 degrees - 4:28 pm - blue sky with scattered clouds...

Along with the dry summer weather, brings an increased danger from wildfires.  That is something we are very aware of and hope we never have to deal with. 

Several years ago we had a few wildfires that were very visible from our house.  During the day we could watch as water and fire retardant were being dropped from airplanes and helicopters.  During the night we could see the glow of the raging fire, which was on the next ridge line across from us.

A few weeks ago Tony had a DNR (Department of Natural Resources) Fire Forester guy come out to look at our place and let us know how we would fare if a wildfire came through.  The outcome of that visit was the knowledge that we would be on our own.  We were told that ground fire crews would not be sent out due to the steepness and inaccessibility of the mountain ridge we live on.  They may send out an aircraft to drop some fire retardant on our house but that’s about it.  On the positive side, the DNR guy did say that we have a great start on the defensible space around our home and had the right to stay and protect it.  Before he left he gave us a bunch of information on how to make the defensible space around our home even better.

If you are not sure what ‘defensible space’ is an area around a structure where fuels and vegetation are treated, cleared or reduced to slow the spread of wildfire towards the structure.  It also reduces the chance of a structure fire moving from the building to the surrounding forest.

Defensible space survivor (Source:


In addition to making sure we have a good defensible space, we also need to create our own Wildfire Action Plan.  This is so our whole family will know escape routes, communication plans, emergency meeting location, emergency contacts, etc.  Here are a few good examples of Wildfire Action Plans...

Get Set! {click here}
As The Fire Approaches {click here}
Outside Checklist {click here}
Inside Checklist & If Trapped Checklist {click here}
Personal Wildfire Action Plan {click here}

After the visit from the DNR Fire Forester guy, going thru all the paperwork he gave us, a little extra research online, and talking about what we still need to do around here to improve our defensible space...I’m learning very quickly that fire is a very capricious thing.  It can find the weak link in your home’s fire protection scheme and gain the upper hand because of a small overlooked or seemingly inconsequential factor.  While we may not be able to accomplish all fire safe measures, each will increase our home’s, and possibly our family’s, safety and survival during a wildfire.

Yes, of course I know a wildfire or any home fire for that matter is bad.  But I think most people have the attitude of “it will never happen to me”, I know I do.  Which is why we are trying to change and have a FIRESAFE attitude.  We have started off with the easiest and least expensive actions.  Beginning our work closest to our house and we’re moving outward.  We are continuing to work on the more difficult items until we have completed them and can mark them off of the to-do-list.  To see a Wildland Fire Suppression Kit (this is on our to-do-list) that our friend made {click here}. 

While fire insurance might replace property destroyed in a fire, there is no insurance available to replace human life.

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