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Type: Other
Author(s): Steve Quarles; Yana S. Valachovic; Gary Nakamura; Glenn A. Nader; Michael J. De Lasaux
Publication Date: 2010

Embers are the most important cause of home ignition. Recent research indicates that two out of every three homes destroyed during the 2007 Witch Creek fire in San Diego County were ignited either directly or indirectly by wind-dispersed, wildfire-generated, burning or glowing embers (Maranghides and Mell 2009) and not from the actual flames of the fire. These embers are capable of igniting and burning your home in several ways. In order to have a wildfire-safe home, two equally important factors must be implemented: 1) the wise selection of building materials and designs that will help the home resist the wildfire; and 2) the home must have adequate defensible space, based on the wise selection, placement, and maintenance of near-home vegetation. There is a direct link between home survival, the vegetation management required in developing adequate defensible space around the home, and the building materials and design used to construct the home. The area where your vegetation should be managed (i.e., your defensible space) will depend on the particular topography and siting of the home on the property. Information included in this publication is focused on the home and is intended to provide information to help you make “fire wise” decisions regarding material choices and design decisions, whether you are building a new home or retrofitting your existing house. A considerable amount of information has been published in recent years on defensible space and vegetation management. Check with your local cooperative extension office or fire department for information appropriate to your area.

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Link to this document (4.9 MB; pdf)
Citation: Quarles, Stephen L.; Valachovic, Yana; Nakamura, Gary M.; Nader, Glenn A.; De Lasaux, Michael J. 2010. Home survival in wildfire-prone areas: building materials and design considerations. ANR Publication 8393. Richmond, CA: University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources. 22 p.

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  • deck
  • fire wise actions
  • home danger
  • home ignition potential
  • ignition
  • roof type
  • siding
  • wildfire homeowner practices
  • wood decking
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Record Maintained By: FRAMES Staff (
FRAMES Record Number: 25053