Why are some homes spared while others are totally destroyed in a Wildfire?

by Brian Hval


Wildfires destroy homes and memories! Here is what you can do to minimize the risk! Lots of tips for the fire protection of both new and existing homes!

The homes that are spared a wildfire disaster have one or more of the following firewise features in common:


Location - the building site is located away from a forested slope. Wildfires tend to rush upwards. Hot air rises, right? Yes, the view is great peering over an edge but that makes your house a great target for fire rushing up the slope!


Building Construction - here are some of the things you can do to improve fire resistance of your home:





Roof - should be made from metal or tile. Something that cannot burn. Houses with those attractive wood shakes are sure to burn when they trap all those sparks and embers from the fire!


Exterior Walls - use metal, concrete, stucco, tile or cement board. It is hard to destroy if it cannot burn! Forget fire-resistant vinyl siding! It just sags and melts into a blazing puddle of goo!

New homes should be built using steel studs in the exterior walls instead of wood 2x4s or 2x6's.


Windows - are double-paned glass. Forget fibreglass skylights or deck coverings! Plastic just go, poof!


Window Trim - metal of course! Why put PVC around that expensive glass? The heat is just going to melt the vinyl trim! Then the glass window falls out … and lets the fire inside!


Decks and Patios - are always made from concrete pavers, tiles or stamped concrete. Never wood!


Fencing - use chain link, iron or rock. Those tall cedar fences and nice-looking wood trellis make the perfect “fire ladders” bringing fire directly to your house!


Landscaping - flammable shrubs, flowers are kept well away from the house!


Image from NFPA
Image from NFPA

Fire Break - clear vegetation from the immediate vicinity of your home. This may stop a slow-moving fire or at least provide room for firefighters to defend your home!