On Saturday April 18, 2014 at the community of Hillsborough, Firewise® Madera County did another presentation. Went well.
Embers Cause Most Structure Loss
There was discussion regarding the causes and types of wildfire caused structure losses. Embers being the top cause makes preparing the structure the most effective way to prevent structure ignition. This is called home hardening.
Home hardening and how the last real line of defense is home hardening was discussed. The little things can get the job done.
Fire Retardant Foam
There was discussion regarding fire retardant foam around a structure. The USFS uses fire retardant foam. Barricade and Fire Ice are examples of fire retardant foam. Using a foam such as this is not a practical undertaking for the average homeowner. There is also little chance firefighters are going to be able to foam your home during a wildfire. Rely on home hardening instead.
In the discussion regarding firewise vents, there was a question as to whether they should be completely blocked off.
If you can, do both during a wildfire.
However, the best first fire wise step is to replace your vents with heavier smaller mesh-size screened vents. 1/8″ or less mesh is recommended.
Keep in mind that the smaller the mesh the less effective venting. The area allowing air to pass through is called “net free area“. The smaller the mesh of the screen, the less air can flow.
In new construction this affects the total number of vents required.
For existing homes, this presents a quandary. Firewise® comes first. Use the best vent to prevent ember entry.
If you can, add the outer closure type cover that can be closed if you have time before evacuation.
As always, after preparing for fast evacuation, harden your home.