According to the National Fire Protection Association, there are three main ways your home can be threatened by wildfire: direct exposure to flames, radiated heat, and airborne firebrands such as embers, or burning pieces of airborne wood or vegetation. Embers are especially dangerous, as they can be carried on the wind for more than a mile and can cause spot fires and ignite homes, debris, and other objects.
Whether you’re building a new home or renovating an existing one, incorporating fire-resistive materials can help protect your home from wildfires and enable it to act as a fire break, potentially reducing the size of the fire and helping firefighters get it under control more easily.
Instead of installing wood shingles or shakes, which provide fuel for burning embers, install Class A, fire-rated roofing material, such as standing seam metal, concrete tile, slate, or composite roofing. Burning embers may simply roll off your roof before they have time to catch fire. A steep pitched roof is also more fire resistant than a flat roof.
Using non-flammable siding, such as brick or stone veneer, stucco, or fiber-cement siding, you can help prevent fires from spreading from the ground level up the exterior walls and to the roofline.
Instead of building a traditional untreated wood deck, consider using composite materials, concrete products and terraces, which will help prevent fires from moving quickly.
Before a window is touched by flames, the intense heat of a wildfire can cause the glass to break. To help protect your home, install double-paned or dual-paned windows, which will take the fire twice as long to break and will be more energy efficient. Steel framing also offers better protection than wood or aluminum.
To keep embers and flaming material out of your home, cover all critical entry points – soffit vents, gable end vents, and dryer vents – with 1/8-inch wire mesh. Box in open eaves with fire-resistant materials too.
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