How to harden your home against wildfires
Boulder County is devising new requirements to harden homes against wildfires in the wake of late December's Marshall Fire.
Driving the news: The county's review board wants newly built homes to include fire-resistant roofing and deck materials and ember-proof attic venting, the Colorado Sun reports.
Yes, but: The new building codes wouldn't apply to existing structures, and the rules may not cover all 40 structural vulnerabilities outlined in a recent federal study on how to harden homes.
- As evidenced by the Marshall Fire, "the fuel that drives the fire is homes," the report's lead author, Alex Maranghides, tells Axios Denver.
What to do: Homeowners can take a handful of steps now to reduce the vulnerability of their homes affordably, a half-dozen fire experts tell us.
- "A good place to start for homeowners … is to consider their roofs," says Chris Brunette with the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control. He recommends noncombustible cladding.
- From there, ignition-resistant siding and composite deck material will reduce flammable sources, says Ashley Whitworth, wildfire mitigation administrator at the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
- Installing 1/8th-inch mesh screening in the eaves of the attic will help prevent embers from drifting through the venting and igniting insulation, experts suggest.
- Outside the home, keep trees and other vegetation at least 15 feet from structures.
The bottom line: "You spend a little more time up front, time and money and you'll have a house that lasts longer," says Jim Webster, a wildfire mitigation specialist with Boulder County.
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