Hardening Structures Against Wildfire
During a wildfire, tiny burning embers can fly far ahead of the fire, sometimes igniting homes a mile or more away from the fire itself. A wildfire-safe home must be resistant to ignition from these flying embers, so that even if the flames do not reach your home, it will be able to withstand exposure to embers that may have been blown a mile or more in front of a wildfire. To provide maximum wildfire protection for your home, a combination of near-home vegetation management, appropriate building materials, and related design features must be used.
There is a direct link between home survival, the vegetation management required in developing adequate defensible space around the home, and the building materials and design used to construct the home. The area where your vegetation should be managed (i.e., your defensible space) will depend on the particular topography and siting of the home on the property. The information provided is intended to help you make “fire wise” decisions regarding material choices and design decisions, whether you are building a new home or retrofitting your existing house.
Building Greater Home Protection
- Attic and Crawl Space Vents - Cover vent openings with corrosion resistant metal screens with 1/8-inch mesh screening.
- Windows – Install double pane windows and utilize tempered glass on exterior panes.
- Roofing Materials – Consider replacing wood shake or shingle roof with Class-A fire resistant type (composition, metal or tile).
- Walls and Siding – Stucco, brick, cement board and steel are better non-combustible siding choices.
- Balconies and Decks – Keep decking material in good condition and free and clear of debris such as pine needles, twigs and leaves. Be sure to clean between the deck boards where debris can fall and accumulate.
- Chimneys – Install a spark arrestor of non-combustible metal mesh screen no smaller than 3/8-inch.
- Rain Gutters – Keep free and clear of leaves, needles, and other debris. Check and clean your gutters several times a year.
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