My Fire, Your Fence

October 22, 2019 / Posted by bbrandenburg

Fires in mulch, sheds and other exterior spaces can spread to neighbors’ property.

Often when we think of home fires, we think of damage to the house, but home fires frequently occur in detached structures and even in outdoor spaces with no buildings in the immediate area. Fires can start in junk heaps, leaf piles, wood stacks, trash cans and wooded areas. If you leave tires, oil pans, paints or other flammable items outdoors, you could be creating a fire hazard. Even mulch spread around your home or fence can be a ready fuel source.

Fires can start from wafting ash or embers from a fireplace or fire pit, an uncrushed cigarette butt, a lightning strike, or even spontaneous combustion. In fact, heaped mulch and grasses, such as straw and hay, build considerable internal heat, as do bagged oiled rags. If you are composting, holding mulch or grass for later use, or saving cloths soaked with gasoline or oils, keep other flammable items far from these to reduce the likelihood of combustion.

If you have planned well enough to keep your own house and structures safe from such outdoor fires, the next step is to consider the possibility of a fire from your property spreading to your neighbors’. Their fences, sheds, garages, gazebos, cars, patio furniture or homes could be endangered by your flammable items, even if none of your property is harmed.

The liability insurance portion of your homeowners insurance policy would likely step in to provide coverage, but it is best to discuss that protection with your Trusted Choice® Independent Insurance Agent to make sure a serious incident that displaces a family, critically harms someone or destroys cars and buildings would be covered. The best protection, of course, is good care of your outdoor spaces. Proper containment and disposal of flammables and appropriate ventilation or rotation of flammable cloths, chemicals and vegetation can minimize outdoor fire hazards.

Take a walk around your property. Do you have frayed wiring to outdoor lights in your gardens or wooded areas? Do you have piles of leaves the wind has carried up against your rear fence or shed? How about bagged oily rags sitting in your shed with full fuel containers? Where is your ash and ember can, and where is your grill situated? Practice excellent outdoor fire prevention to protect property, the environment and lives.