It seems likely that building codes across Canada, including the BC Building Code, will be amended to address the rapidly growing threat of wildfires. The question is when – building codes changes seem to take place at glacial speed.
But for people in our area who are considering a new build, or rebuilding a home damaged or destroyed by our recent wildfires, there are many tried and true practical methods of substantially fireproofing your house. And these methods (many of which can be used to retrofit an existing home) typically don’t involve substantially higher costs.
The key thing to remember is that most homes lost in wildfires aren’t engulfed by a wall of flames. Instead, it’s the rain of embers deposited on houses by winds that spark the ignition (remember, embers can fly up to 10 kilometres ahead of a fire). And so practical fireproofing efforts focus on not giving those embers a chance to ignite the structure or anything in close proximity to the structure. These methods fall into two broad categories: fireproofing the structure, and fireproofing the yard or area surrounding the structure. What follows is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should give you a general idea of what to take into consideration when planning for a build or rebuild.
Fireproofing the Structure
As noted above, practical fireproofing efforts for your home are generally intended to prevent embers getting a necessary foothold and morphing into a blaze. An ember can become a full-blown fire when it comes into contact with flammable materials such as wood shingles or siding, gutters filled with leaves, or when it’s drawn inside the home via vents or broken windows.
Outside Your Home
You can greatly improve your home’s ability to withstand a wildfire by creating a fire-resistant outdoor space. The goal is to create a defensive perimeter that has few or no features that can easily ignite and, in turn, ignite your home.
Here at Copper Island Fine Homes, we are working double-time to get even more up to speed on practical methods of maximizing fire resistance in our work as we move forward after this incredibly difficult time. Please contact us at any time to discuss your build or rebuild and its fire-resistant features and safety precautions.