Home Hardening

Flying embers from a wildfire can destroy homes up to a mile away. “Hardening” (preparing) your home can help increase its chance of survival when wildfire strikes.

Video: Michele Steinberg of NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division provides tips on how to help keep homes from igniting in a wildfire.

Fire hardening means preparing your home for wildfire and an ember storm. It does not mean fireproof. Home hardening addresses the most vulnerable components of your house with building materials and installation techniques that increase resistance to heat, flames, and embers that accompany most wildfires.

Learning to live with wildfire includes taking steps to reduce the risk to homes. Homes built to modern (2008 or later) building codes, with an adjacent and well-maintained defensible space, have a much better chance of surviving wildfire. Maintenance and upgrades to older homes can significantly improve the chance of your home surviving a fire.

To provide maximum wildfire protection for your home, a combination of near-home vegetation management, appropriate building materials, and related design features must be used.  These points are summarized the excellent University of California publication, “Home Survival in Wildfire-Prone Areas: Building Materials and Design Considerations.”

Click on the links below to learn ways you can harden your home and make it more fire resistant:

Resource credit: CAL FIRE, California Fire Safe Council and FIRESafe MARIN


  • Home Landscaping for Fire.  University of California Publication 8228.  2007.  University of California, Davis.
  • www.readyforwildfire.org. Wildfire is Coming: Are You Ready.  CAL FIRE.  2012.  
  • Urban Forestry Associates.  Ray Moritz, Urban Forester and Fire Ecologist.  
  • Protecting Your Home From Wildfire.  2017.  Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, 


Prepare your Home


Seven ways residents can reduce wildfire risk infographic by NFPA
Download the free wildfire safety infographic with seven tips for residents to help protect their homes in an event of a wildfire.

Wildfire risk reduction safety tips by NFPA
By working together, residents can make their own property, and their neighborhood, much safer from wildfire.

10 Low-Cost Retrofits by Cal Fire