Monday, June 01, 2009

Save Your House From Embers, Shields Up!

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After watching a multi-million dollar palace in Santa Barbara with a Spanish tile roof burn, I realized a weakness in modern structures which does not seem to be addressed anywhere. This home was not grazed by nearby flames. Apparently, based on the video of the burn, sparks/embers/whatever, got inside the attic area, where it is totally dry and probably at 130 degrees to begin with.

I seems to me that metal shutters should be at the ready for every entrance into the roof areas. There are of course big vents, usually 2 feet square or bigger, but there are also all those little vents under the eves. All need to be metal shuttered and secured. The differences in air pressure can be quite strong during a forest fire, even just from one side of a house to the other, and this can literally suck in the tiny burning particles that doom a house.

Sadly, this house had a giant pool, but no auto pumping devices, which would also have helped douse the tiny embers of doom.


Don Pelton said...

Excellent post, Doug.

There's a guy named Joe Mitchell down in the San Diego area who invented a fire defense system against embers and firebrands, and -- after he installed it -- his house was one of only a few that survived a big wildfire in his neighborhood.

He studied fires and figured out that more than half the time a house catches fire from embers flying ahead of the fire front. He calls his system WEEDS, for "Wind-Enabled Ember Defense System." It consists of ordinary shrub nozzles installed about every six feet apart under the eaves. The wind ahead of the fire front actually bends the overlapping sprays back against the house and the roof, giving an exceptional defense against the flying embers.

See ...

gzaller said...

Check out the latest CA building codes. They address a lot of issues. All windows must be tempered and eaves must be fire resistant etc. etc.