Fire hazards – how to protect your log cabin from forest fire.

Posted Apr 08, 2020, Category: How-to

With our climate growing hotter and our forests growing dryer, it’s more and more likely that your log cabin might get caught in a forest fire. Luckily, there are several fire mitigation efforts you can take in order to reduce this risk. They mostly revolve around taking good care of the space surrounding your log cabin home. We will go through several steps in depth that you can apply yourself.

Immediate area around your home

First and very important step: move all that can fuel fire at least 10m away from your cabin. This includes firewood, fuel tanks, composting holes, etc. All these items can quickly catch fire even from a flying spark. Make sure they’re far enough away so even if they catch fire, it wouldn’t spread to the cabin.

Next and an essential step is taking care of the area of at least 15m radius around your log cabin. Collect and take away or compost all dry leaves. They catch fire very fast and can cause significant damage to the cabin. Also collect ant safely dispose of all dry fallen branches, as they catch fire fast as well. Disperse the plantation of any bushes, aesthetic or fruit-bearing ones. In a particularly dry season, small and medium bushes are the biggest fire hazard, as their small branches burn very fast and easily transfers flame to their neighbouring bushes.

Lastly, get rid of wild bushes around your immediate area. Small, especially coniferous plants catch fire from a smallest spark in dry season. Remove all of them to secure your log cabin from quickly spreading fire. Also, don’t forget to keep the grass cut, since if left too long, it can cause flames to spread. Some areas have very strict regulation regarding grass growth – it cannot grow closer to your house than at 10m. If your area doesn’t have such regulation, simply make sure you keep your grass manicured and low.

Remove trees and wild growth

Past the 15m radius of your area, you should always keep an eye out on the wild growth of the forest. Make sure you eliminate as many coniferous trees from your area as possible. These types of trees, like spruce, pine and similar, catch fire extremely fast and produce a lot of sparks. If removing them is not an option, getting rid of low branches can help as well. When burning, usually the branches are the ones responsible for most of the fire spreading. The trunks of trees usually stay intact unless the fire is huge and burns for a long time.

Deciduous trees like maple, oak or beech don’t ignite so fast because of higher water content in them. This means that these types of trees are much safer to keep growing near your log cabin. However, you should still watch out for low branches and remove them regularly. Also, deciduous trees shed a lot of leaves every autumn, so you should be mindful and collect all of them before they get too dry. Make sure no trees hang over the roof of your cabin, because if they do end up catching fire, they will transfer the flame onto your roof very fast.

Beyond your 15m radius, usually the nature takes its course and trees and bushes continue growing normally. Take some time to eliminate some small bushes beyond your territory as well. That will create a safe circle around your log cabin and will decrease the chances of fire getting close to your cabin. This should be done in about 30m radius around your cabin.

Cabin location

The possibility of a raging fire can also be mitigated if you pick the right location before building your cabin. Choose a site that is close to a water source, like a lake or a river. In these types of locations, the ground tends to retain more moisture and the chance of forest fire is lower.

Also, if your lot slopes, you will need to extend the area of clearing the forest from fire hazard bushes and leaves. Slopes tend to ignite faster because fire moves the leaves and branches it catches down the slope and your log cabin might get in the way.

Last bits of advice might seem minor, but can help in the state of emergency. Keep a hose with water always available from all sides of the log house. Keep other building and plants at a distance from your log cabin. If you have an open fire pit, make sure to encircle it with rocks to keep the fire from spreading out. Keep the grill on a concrete ground if possible to catch all embers. Plan out your lot with safety in mind and keep your family and friends safe. Good luck!