Q: What can I do to protect my home from a fire?

A: My heart goes to all those whom are suffering loss in Wenatchee. A devastating wild fire has burnt to the ground dozens of homes. We understand both the physical and mental challenges in dealing with loss like this.

We have rebuilt homes for several clients who had lost their homes to a fire. One fire was started from an outdoor fire pit. Another was from fireworks. In both instances a total loss could have been avoided.

Here is what we have learned:

The outdoor fire pit job had a home with cedar siding and a cedar deck. The home would have survived if it was sided with fire retardant siding like fiber cement siding. Same is true with the deck. Cowlitz County requires fire retardant exterior materials on homes that we have built in their County. We have learned a lot. Tropical hardwoods can be used but cedar cannot. The tropical woods are denser and burn slower. We had to learn to source and install all exterior products that are fire retardant. Items like trim boards, exterior posts, bellybands, deck materials and soffit covers all had to be resourced.

The home that caught fire by fireworks would have survived if that had different landscaping near the home. A thirty year old dry bush helped ignite the home. Careful landscape planning can go a long ways. My uncle had his home catch fire due to the hot sun igniting bark dust that spread to the deck.

It wasn’t long ago that the City of Camas adopted internal fire sprinklers to be installed in all new home construction. All the homes above would have been saved if sprinklers had been installed.

Most people when building don’t think about fire protection. Maybe this article might help spur some thought.

Thank you for reading Ask The Builder and making The Columbian of Vancouver, WA a part of your day.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com. Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girod on 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am and 860 am Saturdays at 1 pm.