Building to Help Withstand Wildfires
The important of creating homes that are more likely to be there after the flames are extinguished.
I think it’s safe to say that, because Fine Homebuilding is a bimonthly publication, we don’t qualify as anybody’s source for breaking news. Even if we were a daily publication, there still isn’t much in the world of residential construction that would make you stop and spit out your morning coffee. But housing is essential, and I know all of you are faced with the same ever-changing world of building materials and construction methods that we are, and that’s why we take the job of leading the charge toward better building so seriously.
Over the last several months, thousands of people in the United States experienced the grim reality of having a house in wildfire country. The headlines have since moved on to other topics, but for the people living in or near the hundreds of thousands of acres that were ravaged by the 2017 wildfires, this is very much still their daily focus.
With these fires stretching beyond the borders of what experts believed to be the “at risk” areas, and also pushing months past what was believed to be the annual wildfire season, a review of the building codes seems inevitable.
But the code review and adoption process is slow, and it won’t help the people who need to rebuild, or those whose homes were spared this time, but who want to protect against future wildfires. We hope the information and resources in our special report on this topic, Building to Survive in Wildfire Country, will provide some guidance in the rebuilding efforts. Our goal is certainly not to build a home that will allow homeowners to hunker down and ride out a wildfire—evacuation is always the best course of action—but building or remodeling a house to give it a better chance of still being there when the flames have been extinguished is a reasonable goal that we all need to be actively working toward.
For more information, check out this blog post by Brian Pontolilo: Your Best Defense for Wildfires.