In Collaboration with Promutual
Quebec’s cottages are not immune to the risk of forest fires. The proof is that in the summer of 2020, a major fire threatened 72,000 hectares, the area of 100,000 football fields, in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region. Several cottages were reduced to ash and nearly 150 were at risk. Remarkably, one cottage was saved due to the fact that it was built based on the recommendations of the Société de protection des forêts contre le feu (SOPFEU).
Thinking about building your safe haven in the heart of the forest? Promutuel Insurance can help you build a cottage that will withstand flames and ensure your safety in the event of a forest fire, thanks to SOPFEU’s recommendations.
More Information About Quebec Forest Fires
In Quebec, about 420 fires destroy forests each year. According to SOPFEU, more than 70% of forest fires are caused by human activity, including poorly extinguished campfires, cigarette butts, and all-terrain vehicles. The second most common source of fires is lightning, which usually causes nearly 75 fires per year, for a total of about 20% of forest fires in the province. An average of 8,000 hectares per year are destroyed by these fires. Lastly, the month with the most forest recorded forest fires is July.
10 Recommendations for A Fire-Resistant Cottage
When choosing to build a cottage in the forest, it is important to take the right precautions to minimize the risk of fire-related disasters. Here are 10 recommendations from the Quebec government, inspired by SOPFEU’s advice, to be put into practice when building and maintaining your second home in the forest:
1- Choose A Tin Roof
Opting for non-combustible building materials is an excellent strategy for building a fire-resistant building. Since the roof is particularly exposed to flames and embers, choosing tin is a smart choice. You may have to sacrifice your aesthetic, but your cottage will be fireproof and just as comfortable.
2- Control the Vegetation Around Your Cottage
When building your cottage, cut down trees too close to where you plan to build your home. When it comes to maintenance, prune branches and plants close to your home to eliminate the risks caused by flammable plants.
3- Delineate A Fire Zone
Between vegetation and buildings, create fire-breaking areas with no trees, dry hay, or flammable material. This will prevent the spread of fire to your cottage and garage. You can also surround your cottage with mineral soil.
4- Build Your Cottage at Ground Level
Build your cottage directly on the ground. This will prevent flames from spreading through the floor. Avoid raised foundations.
5- Keep Firewood Away
Store your firewood and any other flammable building material more than 10 meters from your cottage and buildings.
6- Keep the Propane Tank Away from Any Vegetation
Keep a three-meter perimeter around your propane tank to reduce the risk of fire spreading to the vegetation around it.
7- Install A Garden Hose or Water Supply Near the Cottage
Have a hose handy, preferably one capable of watering the entire area of your cottage and roof, or keep a water supply containing a minimum of 200 liters.
8- Choose Waterproof Windows and Doors
Air currents not only help spread flames, but also contaminate the inside of your home with smoke and carbon dioxide, which can be dangerous to humans when its concentration is of 1,000 ppm or more. That’s why it’s important to choose waterproof windows and doors.
9- Clear Your Roof and Deck of Combustible Debris
Even if your roof is fire-proof and made of tin, the branches and leaves that fall onto it can be flammable. Make it a habit to clear your roof and deck of combustible debris throughout the summer.
10- Check the Weather Forecast
What Should You Do in The Case of a Forest Fire?
Before you go to your cottage, it is important that you check SOPFEU’s current restrictions and the weather forecast to make sure it is safe for you to head to your cottage. If you are already there when a forest fire starts, leave immediately.
How to Protect Your Property from The Risk of Fire
In summer, it’s important to prepare your cottage for the risk of a forest fire every time you leave it. In addition to following the tips above, protect your property from fire to limit damage. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to apply for home insurance for your second home.
Cottage and Home Insurance
Even if you take all the necessary precautions when building and maintaining your cottage, fire-related disasters can still wreak havoc. To protect your second home and property, it is essential to take out second home insurance. If your cottage is built to building standards, is inhabited and has access to a year-round road, you may be able to obtain protections similar to those offered by your main residence’s home insurance. If your cottage is a seasonal residence, the nature and scope of the guarantees are limited. In both cases, you may be covered against fire hazards.
With Promutual Insurance, you will benefit from discounts on your insurance premium when insuring several residences with us. Apply for a home insurance quote for your cottage now!