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Jarvis Restoration Blog

The Top 11 Causes of House Fires in Southern California


Of all the worries people in Orange County have about damage to their homes, fire is the biggest. Our wildfire season is devastating for many homeowners, and the number of wildfires and the length of the season is only increasing. 

We handle restoration services for fire damage in Orange County, CA, but we seriously hope that you won’t have to call us in the future! We’ve offered advice before on how you can protect your home from fire damage, and in today’s post we’d like to offer you some more education. We’re going to look at the top 11 causes of house fires in Southern California. Wildfires aren’t the only reason for concern!

1. Wildfires

In the last decade, 7.9 million acres of forestland in California burned—that’s almost 25% of the total of forestland, and it’s triple the amount burned in the previous decade. Wildfires are a huge concern for us, and we’ve written a list of tips for how you can help defend your home.

2. Electrical

This is the most common internal reason for house fires, not only in California, but nationwide. These fires can start because of faulty electrical wiring, outdated wiring, overloaded circuits, damage electrical cords, or leaving appliances plugged in when no one is around. 

3. Cooking Accidents

Every bit of advice you’ve heard about cooking safety is true! Cooking methods that use high heating, such as frying and grilling, can lead to quickly spreading flames if left unattended. Grease fires are one of the biggest concerns because they’re difficult to put out. 

4. Malfunctioning Heating Systems

This one is a bit lower on the list for California than it is nationally because we don’t rely as much on furnaces, space heaters, and fireplaces. But we still use them, and problems with this equipment can cause house fires.

5. Smoking

A home with smokers had a higher risk of fires because of improperly extinguished cigarettes or cigars. And remember, never smoke in bed!

6. Candles

Burning candles at home is more popular now than ever, and people love the ambience and the odors from them. However, leaving them unattended or placing them too close to flammable objects is a major source of house fires.

7. Flammable Liquids

Make sure that you properly store and handle gasoline, paint, paint thinner, and other flammable liquids. For example, never store any of these materials close to a heating system or other equipment that heats up.

8. Arson

Yes, deliberate acts of arson are also a significant source of house fires—and wildfires!

9. Electrical Appliances

One of the reasons to throw away older and faulty electrical appliances is the fire risk they pose. Appliances that have been known to start house fires include dryers, washing machines, and dishwashers. Proper equipment maintenance will lower the risk.

10. Children

Children playing with matches, lighters, fireworks, or anything else that can start a flame often cause accidental fires.

11. Lightning Strikes

This is lowest on the list for California because thunderstorms are not frequent here. However, many SoCal homes lack adequate lightning protection because of this. 

For comprehensive home restoration services you can rely on, contact Jarvis Restoration today!

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