Home Component Burn Demonstrations

Homeowners can help keep the blaze at bay even as wildfire rages - November, 2007 press release

After serious wildfires, it can seem like flames leapfrogged through neighborhoods, leaving some homes unscathed alongside others that have been reduced to rubble. University of California scientists have found that this familiar site is not entirely random.

"You can do a lot to protect your house from a wildfire," said Stephen Quarles, the UC Cooperative Extension wood durability advisor.

With the right information, some advance planning and maintenance, homeowners can increase the chances their houses will be left standing after a wildfire.

“During a wildfire, hot embers can rain down on the neighborhood for hours before the relatively short time – sometimes no more than a few minutes – it takes for the blaze to blow by the home,” Quarles said. “From years of observing the aftermath of fires and testing fire-resistant building materials, we have developed a much better understanding about what happens.”

New construction will be required to have increased fire safety measures built in beginning in 2008. New guidelines for construction in areas under state jurisdiction go into effect on Jan. 1; they go into effect in fire hazard zones under local jurisdiction on July 1.

These laws govern only new construction, and presumably many of the homes that will be rebuilt after the devastating Southern California fires of fall 2007 will include the provisions, but Quarles said owners of existing homes may also wish to consider making changes to improve their homes’ resistance to wildfire.

Continue reading the Homeowners can help keep the blaze at bay even as wildfire rages press release.

Past Workshops: