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#164917 - 01/25/09 03:52 AM Re: Stay and defend your home from a wildfire? [Re: ]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
It seems to me that if you want make an effort to protect your home, the best thing to do would be to try to fireproof the area long before any fire approaches. Eliminate foundation plantings, trim branches to heights recommended by fire officials, maybe plant outer areas with iceplants or other juicy varieties, cover all vents with fine metal screens (not vinyl), try to eliminate any roof pockets that can catch and harbor burning debris, plan on quickly removing combustible doormats, etc.

Do these things when you have time, rather than in a last-minute panic.

Sue

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#164931 - 01/25/09 07:24 AM Re: Stay and defend your home from a wildfire? [Re: ]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Originally Posted By: IzzyJG99
I've actually stayed and defended my home during the Wildfires in Florida in the summer of 1998. That, my friends, is not an enjoyable experience. Probably the closest thing to combat I'll ever see.


One thing I didn't mention, and another reason it can resemble combat, is that once your engaged your committed. You can't get into the thick of it and then decide that your in over your head and call for help. Odds are the FDs have allocated their men so there isn't likely to be anyone there to, quite literally, pull your bacon out of the fire. It may even be useless to run once the fire is on top of you.

If your planning to stay and defend your property you need to double and triple check your planning, calculations and preparations. It is critical to have enough water so you don't run out at the height of the action. You need fuel to run pumps and a way to quickly and safely refuel while firebrands are landing all around.

Talk to your local FD for advice on how to prepare your site, what you need in manpower and equipment and guidelines for how much water, fuel, and chemicals to have on hand.

Talk to firemen. Go to bulletin boards and forums that cater to firefighters. Read and ask questions of those who fight wildfires for a living. Dig around the web for ideas, information and advice. Read all the horror stories about crews overrun so you have some idea what your up against. Carefully consider if better insurance and being mobile isn't the better way to go.

If you decide to stay your going to need all the good information and sound preparation you can muster. If things get serious your on your own. Don't screw up.

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#164932 - 01/25/09 07:31 AM Re: Stay and defend your home from a wildfire? [Re: Art_in_FL]
Desperado Offline
Veteran

Registered: 11/01/08
Posts: 1530
Loc: DFW, Texas
Or maybe become a volunteer fire fighter. If not all the time, maybe when you can. I have been in two burning buildings. Once when the hotel I was in "overheated", and the other when I was suckered into going to training with my brother-in-law's fire company. If I have ANYTHING to do with it, the total will stay at two.
_________________________
I do the things that I must, and really regret, are unfortunately necessary.

RIP OBG

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#165052 - 01/26/09 02:25 PM Re: Stay and defend your home from a wildfire? [Re: Desperado]
Muleskinner Offline
Stranger

Registered: 01/18/09
Posts: 5
Loc: Missouri
I was a Fire Chief and Firefighter for quite a few years. Enjoyed every minute of it. In 96 or so, I went to Fire school "Wildland Firefighting" In the two phase course, we were taught all kinds of interesting things.

To Defend your home from wildfire starts YEARS before you smell smoke.

The construction of your home, landscaping, terrain all depend on the choices you make, and weather or not your home can be defended.

Defending your home from wildfire is something you do before the wildfire gets there, not STANDING IN YOUR YARD WITH A GARDEN HOSE.

Do that and you will die a most horrible death.

Muleskinner
_________________________
You don't need it......til you NEED it!

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#165125 - 01/26/09 08:32 PM Re: Stay and defend your home from a wildfire? [Re: Muleskinner]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
I remember during the Malibu wildfire in the early 90s, a guy had built his house of concrete, with a terra cotta tile or metal roof. The firefighters took a good look at it and said, "We'll make a stand here". The aerial photos showed his home intact, surrounded by burned rubble.

I'm sure he wasn't lamenting not using shake shingles at all.

Sue

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#165141 - 01/26/09 11:11 PM Re: Stay and defend your home from a wildfire? [Re: Susan]
KG2V Offline

Veteran

Registered: 08/19/03
Posts: 1371
Loc: Queens, New York City
Originally Posted By: Susan
I remember during the Malibu wildfire in the early 90s, a guy had built his house of concrete, with a terra cotta tile or metal roof. The firefighters took a good look at it and said, "We'll make a stand here". The aerial photos showed his home intact, surrounded by burned rubble.

I'm sure he wasn't lamenting not using shake shingles at all.

Sue


Which is how I've always said if I was going to build in in a fire zone, that is how I would do it - concrete, tile, fire shutters, and some sort of built in hose down system - picture a copper pipe running the lenght of the ridgeline of the house with auto water feed - turn it on, keeps the roof wet - ditto other areas
_________________________
73 de KG2V
You are what you do when it counts - The Masso
Homepage: http://www.thegallos.com
Blog: http://kg2v.blogspot.com

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#165238 - 01/27/09 06:53 AM Re: Stay and defend your home from a wildfire? [Re: ]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
Nah, houses burn much easier than the wood I get for my fireplace.
The last load of wood I got you would have to run through a wringer just to get some of the water out.
_________________________
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

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#165349 - 01/27/09 10:17 PM Re: Stay and defend your home from a wildfire? [Re: KG2V]
ki4buc Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/10/03
Posts: 710
Loc: Augusta, GA
Originally Posted By: KG2V_was_kc2ixe

Which is how I've always said if I was going to build in in a fire zone, that is how I would do it - concrete, tile, fire shutters, and some sort of built in hose down system - picture a copper pipe running the lenght of the ridgeline of the house with auto water feed - turn it on, keeps the roof wet - ditto other areas


Maybe having your own fire pump and 5 1/2 fire department connection would be good too. If you're living in a wildfire area, a swimming pool is always a good investment. Provides a nice water source for the fire pump you had installed. smile

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#165575 - 01/29/09 05:43 AM Re: Stay and defend your home from a wildfire? [Re: ki4buc]
OldBaldGuy Offline
Geezer

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
"...a swimming pool..."

I used to work a part of Los Angeles County where the county would let you fill your pool for free (water was on a meter), but the fire dept got to suck it dry as needed in fire season. Not necessarily to squirt on your property...
_________________________
OBG

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#165626 - 01/29/09 06:39 PM Re: Stay and defend your home from a wildfire? [Re: OldBaldGuy]
Art_in_FL Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
Swimming pools are good to have, generally, and are handy for keeping water on hand but most home pools are relatively small.

A pool 30' by 20' by 5' is about 22,500 gallons. Sounds like a lot until you figure a 1-1/2" hose line eats up 90 to 120 gallons a minute. Giving yourself a safety factor figure 120gpm, or 2 gallons a second.

Out of that pool you are only going to get 187.5 minutes, 3 hours and 7.5 minutes of water at that rate. And that is just one hose line. Use a second line or run a roof watering system on it and it won't last long. A fire may be dropping large embers on your house for a day or more before the fire gets to you.

You may be able to husband your water supply by using lower pressures on your pumps and/or smaller lines while your just smothering sparks. You can also make every gallon work harder for you by using chemical additives, like class-A foam or gel to cover your exposures, but once the water is gone your done.

Plan well. Know how much water you have on hand and how much your pumping systems consume per minute.

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