Kim Clark, AE, GAD
Preparing Homes for Wildfire
The majority of homes ignite in wildfires due to embers and small flames, according to research on home destruction vs. home survival in wildfires. Embers, which are flaming fragments of flying wood and/or plants that can travel over a mile in the wind, can start spot fires and ignite dwellings, debris, and other things.
There are ways for homeowners to prepare their homes to withstand ember attacks and reduce the chances of flames or surface fires impacting the structure or any attachments. Homes ignite due to the state of the home and everything around it, up to 200' from the foundation, according to experiments, models, and post-fire studies. The Home Ignition Zone is what it's called (HIZ).
Following some groundbreaking experimental studies on how dwellings burn due to the impacts of radiant heat, retired USDA Forest Service fire scientist Jack Cohen created the concept of the home ignition zone in the late 1990s. There are three zones in the HIZ. Immediate, Intermediate, and Extended ignition zones.
Learn more about how wildfires spread and ignite home in the National Fire Protection Association's online course Understanding the Wildfire Threat to Homes. An overview of fire history, fire basics, and how homes burn.
NFPA fact sheets:
Devastating wildfires rage across the United States every year. Simultaneously, an increasing number of people are living in areas where wildfires constitute a genuine threat. While fires will continue to occur, there are steps you can do to protect your house, neighborhood, and family from harm. Be prepared with resources from the Firewise USA® program!
Locally, both Dos Griegos Subdivision (2014) and Wind Canyon Subdivisions (2014) are recognized, and in good standing as of March 24, 2022 by the Firewise USA® program.