With the threat of drought looming over the province, Alberta FireSmart and FireSmart Canada are reminding people that there are ways to increase the wildfire resiliency of their homes.

They suggest several ways of arranging the layout of yards that can help slow down an approaching wildfire.

One of the suggestions is to keep the first 1.5 metres (or the Immediate Zone, as they call it) around the home and attached structures as non-combustible as possible.

Part of that includes clearing vegetation and other combustible material down to the soil and covering the area with non-combustible materials such as concrete, gravel, and brick.

They say it is also best to not plant trees and woody shrubs within this zone and to keep existing ones properly pruned and tidy.

Decks and porches allow debris to build up underneath them and this accumulation of debris allows for an easier time for embers to ignite.

That's to say nothing of the combustibility of the wooden and plastic deck boards that are sitting above that combustible debris and right up against your home.

FireSmart Canada suggests replacing the combustible deck and porch materials with either non-combustible or fire-rated materials, as well as covering exposed parts of the decks, porches, and foundation with fire-resistant materials, such as a metal screening.

It's best to keep the gutters, eaves, and vents clean.

Uncovered vents can allow heat and embers to enter the home and ignite, so it is suggested to cover them with a mesh or other non-combustible material to prevent sparks from starting a new fire.

In what Alberta FireSmart calls the Intermediate Zone (1.5 metres to 10 metres away from the home), they suggest planting fire-resistant vegetation and using non-combustible landscaping materials.

Even though mulch helps to keep moisture in the ground for trees and plants, FireSmart suggests keeping it as far from the home as possible, to minimize the number of woody debris sitting around.

It's also a good idea to not keep firewood, construction materials, flammable patio furniture, sheds, trailers, and recreational vehicles in the Intermediate Zone if possible.

Lawns that are mowed to less than 10 centimetres in height are less likely to burn as intensely, giving the home a fighting chance against the fire.

Regularly cleaning fallen branches, and getting rid of dead grass and pine needles, also helps to lower the fuel options a fire has.

The Extended Zone, which is the 10-metre to 30-metre zone around the home, is an ideal place to begin thinning out the trees on the property and creating a bit of a fire break by leaving a space between trees and other vegetation.

For more information on how to keep your home safe from fires, check out the FireSmart website.