|The following information is provided by the FireWise Community
Fire Prevention Partnership:
||Build or Remodel Your House to make it FireWise
|Your house could be vulnerable to a fire because of its design, construction, and location.
If you are preparing to build, buy or remodel a house, you should know what to look for in a FireWise house. A few modifications
to your construction plans can reduce the chance of your house catching fire, or resist further damage if it does catch fire.
Don't let your house become just more fuel for a wildland fire!
If you are building a new house, locate it far enough from the property boundary of your lot to allow creation and design of
your landscape for an adequate defensible space around the house. Avoid ridge tops, canyons, and areas between high points
on a ridge. These are extremely hazardous locations for houses and firefighters because they become natural "chimneys" or
fire paths, increasing the intensity of the fire.
|Exterior construction materials such as brick and stucco resist fire much better than wood.
Especially if you have a wood exterior, it is especially important that you follow these FireWise practices. Generally,
thicker siding materials are more fire resistant. Enclose the underside of balconies and decks on slopes with fire resistant
materials. If not enclosed, these areas can trap flames and burning embers that can ignite your home.
|Your roof is the most vulnerable part of your house because it can easily
catch fire from the windblown sparks of a wildland fire. The single most important step you can take to create
a FireWise house is to build or re-roof with fire resistive or noncombustible materials.
There are classifications of fire resistive roofs: Class A offers the best protection; Class C is the minimum
level required by law. Contact your local fire department or County Building Department for specific roofing
guidelines in you area. Conventional mineral reinforced shingles usually have a class C rating. These are
gradually being replaced with fiberglass reinforced asphalt shingles. These last longer and are class A material.
They are available in many colors and textures and can even imitate wood and slate shingles. Other good fire
resistant roof materials include metal sheets or metal shingles, fiber-cement shingles, and membrane roofs;
all of these roofs require a gypsum underlayment to qualify as a class A roof. Concrete shingles and tile,
slate shingles, and clay tile provide the best fire resistive roof but they are expensive.
|Roof eaves extending beyond exterior walls are susceptible to flame exposure and
should be limited in length and boxed or enclosed with fire resistive materials. Openings such as attic or ridge
vents can allow easy entry of flaming embers and sparks. Cover all vents with a nonflammable 1/8 inch or smaller mesh screen.
Every chimney and stovepipe must be covered by a nonflammable screen with a mesh no larger than 1/8 inch.
Limit the size and number of windows in your home that face large areas of vegetation. Even from a distance, the heat
from a wildland fire may be enough to ignite the furnishings inside your house. Installing dual paned windows and
sliding glass doors can reduce the potential of breakage from windblown debris and reduce the amount of heat
transmitted from the fire to the interior of your home.
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