ST. PAUL, Minn. - The DNR calls it Firewise, and it could be just the thing that saves your home during a fire.

The key to success is a little preparation beforehand to prevent a disaster later, officials said.

If the Andover grass fires a couple of weeks ago wasn't enough of an indicator about just how dry it is, the latest fires that have flared could be considered the exclamation point.

"There are things that homeowners can do well in advance," explained DNR Fire Prevention's Larry Himanga.

Firewise involves a checklist of things that can be done throughout the year to protect your investment from the flames. It includes things like storing firewood away from your home, keeping a hose nearby, keeping branches trimmed and trees free of debris.

The list goes on, but the idea is to create a defensible space around your place. It's recommended anything within 30 feet of your home should be tidy and well-kept, that includes lawns, which should be cut and watered regularly.

While 30 feet may not seem like much, experts say it's proven to be enough time and time again.

"What usually happens is well before the advance of the fire," explained Himanga. "The flame-front you get a huge ember shower and you get lots and lots of hot big basically burning coals that land all over the home and all around the home."

The less fuel there is, the more likely those embers simply burn out and the structure is saved, but when the flames are close and if the work hasn't been done, it can already be too late.

"We actually have cases where houses have burned to the ground and the fire never even made it to where the structure is," said Himanga.

For many, the DNR says there's still time, while others, begin the assessment of what happened.

Check out theFirewise checklist at

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