How Homes Ignite
Buildings ignite during wildfires as a result of one or more of these three basic wildfire exposures: embers (also called firebrands), radiant heat, and direct flame contact.
Embers, Direct Flame & Radiant Heat
Fuel, Weather & Topography
How to Protect Your Home From Wildfires
A coupled approach, using a fire-hardened home and good defensible space, is necessary to provide the greatest level of protection. Preparing and maintaining adequate defensible space will guard against flame contact and radiant exposures from nearby vegetation. When it comes to protecting your home against embers, fire-resistant building material and design considerations cannot be ignored. Similarly, if you don’t have defensible space–or don’t maintain it–the wildfire will produce maximum ember, flame, and radiant exposures to your home.
2020 Glass Fire Analysis
Fire Chief Debunks Defensible Space
Wildfire Defensible Space: Zone Zero
Your Home Can Survive a Wildfire
Use Fire-Resistant Building Materials & Designs
In this section, we have outlined building features that are most vulnerable to ignition during wildfires. In most cases, these can easily be built or retrofitted to significantly improve wildfire resistance. Upgrades to these features may be the most effective steps you can take to protect your home from wildfire.
The Cost of Building a Fire-Resistant Home
When building a new home, research has shown that the difference in cost between a typical home, and a home constructed with wildfire-resistant materials and design features, is negligible. Retrofitting an existing home may incur additional expenses, but the investment is usually worth it.
Decades of research and post-fire assessments have provided clear evidence that building materials and design, coupled with fire-resistant landscaping, are the most important factors influencing home survivability during a wildfire.
There are other actions you should take to protect your home in the event of a wildfire:
- Have available in your garage a fire extinguisher, tools (e.g., shovels, rakes, buckets), and extra garden hoses and nozzles, for fire emergencies.
- Consider having multiple garden hoses that are long enough to reach all areas of your home and other structures on your property.