Fireproof Building Architecture in Fire Hazard Areas

Tea Fire Tragedy

I used to think that wildfires only happened in movies such as Disney’s Bambi. But in November 2008, the Tea Fire in Santa Barbara changed my life forever as I lost my college dorm room to the blaze. Although I didn’t have as many belongings as the other 200 families that lost their homes in the Tea Fire, the sight of a smoke stack in the sky is still a very unwelcome sight.

With the combination of high winds and hot temperatures in the fall months, it is important to think about the very real possibility of fire and how to prepare yourself both in the short and long-term.

One of the ways that I have often thought about for long-term fire protection is living in a home that is able to defend itself against the flames.

A few weeks ago, local architects and construction teams from AIA Santa Barbara gave an incredibly unique look at eight properties in the hills of Montecito. The homes all had one thing in common—they all demonstrated innovative fire-resistant strategies.

The eight homes featured on the tour were rebuilt after the two fires. Many of the other properties also employed fire-resistant technology from the landscape to the building materials.

One of the properties featured on Mountain Drive now has “non-ignitable” exterior surfaces, in addition to a layer of fire-resistant gypsum board under the plaster finish. 

Fireproof Building  Architecture in Fire Hazard Areas
November 6, 2012 from the Independent

Firesafe Home Strategies

Two factors have emerged as the primary determinants of a home's ability to survive wildfires: choosing fire-resistant roofing material and creating a wildfire defensible zone. First, it is important to choose a fire-resistant roofing material that is rated class C or higher when building a house in, or near, forests or grasslands. Avoid flammable materials such as wood or shake shingles.

Choose surrounding vegetation wisely: maintain a greenbelt (irrigated if possible) immediately around your home using grass, a flower garden and/or fire-resistant ornamental shrubbery. An alternative is rock or other non-combustible material, which may be preferable if your house is made of wood or other flammable materials. Avoid using bark or wood chip mulch in this area.

For more information on the event click here. 

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AB design studio,  inc. | architecture | interior design | urban planning | california | new york | santa barbara | los angeles | san francisco | san diego | clay aurell,  aia, leed ap, ncarb | josh blumer,  aaia