This community wildfire hazard assessment is based on current scientific understanding of how homes burn during wildfires. It focuses on 1) making homes safer in terms of embers, flames, and radiant heat from wildfires, 2) on breaking up continuous fuels, and 3) on actions that homeowners can take to reduce hazards.
If your home or community are located in the wildland-urban interface -- an area where homes and wildland areas are in close proximity to each other -- you may be worried about wildfires. Homes located in these areas must be protected from radiant heat and direct flames, and, particularly, embers.
It is increasingly well understood that many homes are lost during wildfires due to embers, or firebrands, that travel over many miles and end up, for example, entering an attic through an uprotected vent. Once near or inside your home, embers can smolder and eventually start a fire that damages or destroys it. Your home can be hit by embers for many hours as the fire approaches and recedes.
The following illustrations outline the progression of a wildfire toward a home:
As a fire advances, a home and surrounding vegetation are exposed to embers.
A home and surrounding vegetation are exposed to the flaming front of a fire for only 5-10 minutes.
A home and surrounding vegetation will be exposed to pre- and post-fire conditions for much longer.
These diagrams illustrate the fact that protecting homes against ember intrusion is critical. However, it is something that must be done by homeowners. Therefore, the wildfire hazard assessment that we have developed is designed to help communities reduce wildfire hazards by focusing on things that individuals and communities can do to reduce wildfire hazards on their property.