Unlike mitigating a structure from a high wind event, wildfire mitigation offers more options than the application of construction standards and codes alone. By reducing the flammable fuels that exist around a home, the need for fire-resistive materials and building design can be reduced. For example, rather than retrofitting wooden siding on a building, reducing the adjacent flammable vegetation around your home may be equally effective in eliminating flame contact to the building, achieving the desired result and being less costly to the owner.
Benefits of Using This Mitigation Strategy
- Improved accessibility in forested areas
- Helps to protect public health and safety, as well as those of the structure’s occupants, in addition to protecting the environment
- Install only burning brand exposure rated (Class A, B or C) roof assemblies using materials such as asphalt shingles, slate or clay tile or metal roof coverings.
- Ensure roof-covering assemblies do not contain openings that allow firebrand entry.
- Install fire-resistive or noncombustible construction materials on siding and walls.
- Construct eaves that extend beyond exterior walls with fire-resistive materials.
- Cover all vent openings to internal structure areas (attic, eave/soffit, foundation, etc.) with a corrosion-resistant, non-combustible 1/4 inch or smaller wire mesh or screen that prevents firebrands from entering structures.
- Provide concrete block, cement walls or other fire-resistive materials for foundation walls and mobile home skirting.
- Construct overhanging projections (decks, balconies, unenclosed roofs, etc.) of heavy timber, non-combustible or ignition resistant material.
- Minimize the size and number of windows on the downhill side of the house or the side most likely to be exposed to wildfire. Both the size and the type of materials used are crucial in windows and sliding-glass doors. Multi-paned glass or tempered glass is recommended.
- Do not locate decks at the top of a hill. A fire’s spread is generally up hill. Enclose the undersides of balconies and decks with fire-resistive screening so that firebrands and fine fuels cannot accumulate under these extensions.
- FEMA recommends you install spark arrestors on all chimneys, stovepipes and vents for fuel-burning heaters. Use spark arrestors made of 12-gauge welded or woven wire mesh screen with openings 1/2 inch across. If you're building a chimney, use non-combustible materials and make sure the top of the chimney is at least two feet higher than any obstruction within 10 feet of the chimney. Keep the chimney clean. Ask your fire department for exact specifications.