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Defensible Space: The Best and Only Hope

Key Points:

  • If one is going to live in or near a forest, one assumes a higher risk of fire.
  • Sylvan homeowners need to take the risk seriously, particularly if they live in the backcountry. The chance of home loss in the backcountry is much higher than in the frontcountry.
  • The best way to minimize that risk is to seriously and continually create and maintain defensible space.
  • In general, Cohen found that most homes are not lost to a high-intensity fire in forest too close to the building but from firebrands carried by the winds.
  • The home and its surrounding 40 meters determine home ignitability, home ignitions depend on home ignitability, and fire losses depend on home ignitions.
  • WUI (Wildland Urban Interface) fire loss problem can be defined as a home ignitability issue largely independent of wildland fuel management issues.
  • Because home ignitions depend on home ignitability, the behavior of wildland fires beyond the home or community site does not necessarily correspond to W-UI home fire loss potential. Homes with low ignitability can survive high-intensity wildland fires, whereas highly ignitable homes can be destroyed during lower-intensity fires.

Full Article: Defensible Space — The Best and Only Hope for the Homeowner In or Near a Forest