How one homeowner saved his house from the Carr Fire

Investing in wildfire mitigation proves to be a smart move

Posted: Nov. 29, 2018

home with wildfire mitigation measures in place

In 1994, a man building a new home for his family in the Redding, California area believed that one day he would see a wildfire. During construction, he paid close attention to the home’s design and materials and over the years, took mitigation actions to make his house resilient to wildfire.

Twenty-four years later, the wildfire that this homeowner prepared for — the Carr Fire — destroyed over 1,500 structures. Seventeen of his neighbors lost their homes but his house remained standing, unharmed. What made the difference? Wildfire mitigation.

Some of the wildfire mitigation measures he took during construction and maintained over the years to make his home fire-resilient included:

  • A well-maintained, simple Class A metal roof.
  • A non-combustible zone (3-5 feet wide) around the outside of the home that helped prevent embers from landing in close-by vegetation.
  • Pruned trees and low-growing cactus and succulents.
  • Boxed-in or soffited eaves with venting located at the outside edge. This makes ember intrusion more difficult.
  • Well-maintained stucco siding.
  • Accessible water and hoses labeled with reflective signs for firefighters.

For more recent examples of wildfire mitigation work that you can promote to homeowners in your community, read the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network blog.

Fire resilience is about understanding and recognizing the vulnerabilities of your home and landscape and making modifications so that the home and landscape are complementary to each other.

— Yana Valachovic, County Director and Forest Advisor, University of California Cooperative Extension

Further reading

Engaging homeowners in wildfire risk mitigation: Which approaches work best?

See also: Wildland Urban Interface toolkit — Planning

This summary is for informational purposes only. More +
As such, the content does not reflect any official positions, policies, or guidelines on behalf of the sender, the U.S. Fire Administration, FEMA, DHS, nor any other federal agencies, departments or contracting entities. Similarly, this summary does not represent in any manner an official endorsement or relationship to any private or public companies, organizations/associations, or any authors or individuals cited or websites associated within the article.

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