Defensible Zones Creating a fire Defensible Zone
Protect your Home
Defensible Space
Plant Materials
Grass Seed Mixes
Building Materials
Grass Seed Mixes .PDF format document
Check List
Forest Dynamics
Wildfire Defense Home
black spacer
The following information is provided by the FireWise Community Fire Prevention Partnership:
  Build or Remodel Your House to make it FireWise  
white spacer rust spacer white spacer
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.
  Building Materials  
white spacer rust spacer white spacer
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  
white spacer rust spacer white spacer
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.
  Other Building Concerns  
white spacer rust spacer white spacer
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.

Back to TOP