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Preparing for and surviving fires

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Weedygarden

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With all the wild fires going on now, I always wonder about how anyone could ever survive in one? Would it be at all possible?

The temperature would burn people and everything up, unless they had a way of being safe? A fireproof house, about 10% more in cost than a typical home would be one thing to help prevent your home from burning up.

The fire would consume all of the oxygen, so a person would suffocate. If you had oxygen tanks, the fire could cause them to explode.

Having a storm shelter would only work if it were all fireproof. But wouldn't the oxygen level be a problem?

If you have ever had a home fire, you know that what doesn't burn might get water damaged. And what survives the fire and water damage, is smoke damaged. Clothes hanging in closets just have to be thrown away.

Many of the people in California never even had enough warning to even get out in time. Those that did, got out with the clothes on their back. I think of the preps I keep in my car. Many people don't even have those: overnight bag with toiletries, spare clothes, underwear, socks and pajamas.

I have no real answers, just thoughts and am wondering if there is any way to survive, other than evacuating?
 

hiwall

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If you own some land then you can do fire mitigation around your home. A metal roof and stucco walls with no trees very close and it is very likely your house would survive. Smoke could still chase you out. By removing the fuel around your home, you would lesson the heat.
 

gravelroad

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Fire safety is different in every environment and the approach should be different. I see in a lot of the fires where there is a huge lack of maintenance and or planning for fires.

I have worked with my local fire department, usfa, and the National Forest Service. I came up with a plan on setbacks for flammable materials from buildings, tree placement and types, where to put fire breaks, and building materials. This year I plan on doing a bunch of under cutting and removing ladder fuel.

My plan is to slow a fire and to make it easier to protect my house with less manpower if it makes it that far.
 

SheepDog

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No trees within falling distance is rule #1. A clear fire lane of at least 100 feet with nothing combustible in it. Hardi board sheathing over the exterior sheathing followed by Hardi board horizontal lap siding.
The interior walls and ceiling need sheathing on them covered with 5/8 green board drywall. The roof has fire resistant sheathing covered with rubber ice dam and fire resistant fiberglass roofing or metal roof.
The entire house is then fire resistant at 1500F for two hours. If you build it to strict earthquake standards it will also take 150 mph winds without damage. The nice part is that it looks like any other house in the area until you look at the wall thickness. A casual visitor will never notice that it is anything special. Whether the fire starts inside or outside it will run out of fuel before there is any damage.
 

gravelroad

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I went with a 250' grass strip for my outer fire line. Driveway cut out 300' wide. Nothing flammable with in 10' of a building. No trees that once falling will land with 100' of a building. This years plan is to finish undercutting everything with outer fire line.

Everything on the outside of my buildings are fire proof or I use fire proof paint.

I also installed a 6" dry hydrant down the road from me. All of my buildings are within 900' of hose lay to the hydrant. I also let the fire department do a few pumping classes every year using my driveway and dry hydrant.
 

Weedygarden

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I went with a 250' grass strip for my outer fire line. Driveway cut out 300' wide. Nothing flammable with in 10' of a building. No trees that once falling will land with 100' of a building. This years plan is to finish undercutting everything with outer fire line.

Everything on the outside of my buildings are fire proof or I use fire proof paint.

I also installed a 6" dry hydrant down the road from me. All of my buildings are within 900' of hose lay to the hydrant. I also let the fire department do a few pumping classes every year using my driveway and dry hydrant.
What is a dry hydrant?
 

gravelroad

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It is a connection to a water source that dose not have any pressure. it could be a cisturn, pond, stream, river, ext.

You connect with hard suction line and then pull a draft from a pump. It saves a lot of manpower and time when setting up for a draft.

My set up is schedule 80 PVC pipe with a large filter on the end in a stream. They have been able to pump 750 gpm with out issues during low water flow.

Having the dry hydrant and being under 1,000 to my buildings changes the ISO rating for fire protection and lowers my insurance cost. It also lowers the ISO rating for every building with in 1 mile by road.
 

Weedygarden

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It is a connection to a water source that dose not have any pressure. it could be a cisturn, pond, stream, river, ext.

You connect with hard suction line and then pull a draft from a pump. It saves a lot of manpower and time when setting up for a draft.

My set up is schedule 80 PVC pipe with a large filter on the end in a stream. They have been able to pump 750 gpm with out issues during low water flow.

Having the dry hydrant and being under 1,000 to my buildings changes the ISO rating for fire protection and lowers my insurance cost. It also lowers the ISO rating for every building with in 1 mile by road.
Having a pond, stream or other water source to access has to be very helpful for fire mitigation. I have often thought that some large tanks, buried or above ground that are filled from roof catchments that can be used for a variety of purposes for those who do not have a body of water to access would be an investment that could be available when there is a fire and everyone else wants water as well.
 

Flight

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Yep, all the preparation in the world does no good, if we miss something. Looks like too many trees too close. House exterior was obviously not fire proof.

View attachment 9783
Which doomsday preppers on FB is it? When I typed it in alot of them pop up.
 

Weedygarden

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You are welcome. I belong to too many fb groups. If I am interested in a topic, such as preparedness, I usually join many of the larger groups on that topic. Sometimes personalities are different in the various groups. I will leave groups with too much drama or bullies who are not reined in.
 

Caribou

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I have a 10# extinguisher in each bedroom one under the kitchen sink, two in the garage next to the kitchen door, and another on the far side of the garage. Each vehicle has an extinguisher.

I live in an area where wild fires are a concern. A metal roof and cement board panel exterior are on the list as finances allow.
 

Weedygarden

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I am thinking of different ways to change up homes and buildings in the event of a fire. I have thought about where wood is usually found in home building. Many homes are made mostly of wood. My home is made of brick, but my windows are framed in wood. The roof has a wooden foundation. The internal parts of the house that are wood are the joists, floors and framing. Much of my home is plastered, but has been dry-walled in some rooms. The floors in the kitchen and baths are ceramic tiles.

The roof could be changed to metal. (Loud during rainstorms, but fire proof) It would be more expensive than composite, but longer life. I know some places would have codes against metal, but there are a couple in my area.

I have thought about making some metal or some other fireproof material shutters that could cover the windows. (Suggestions?) I know this is common in hurricane territory. I have researched rolling shutters, such as the one found on stores. They are expensive, but would probably add insulation and protection from breakage or fire.

Another thing that would be help would be a sprinkler system. I don't know of any homes that have them. Water would damage any home.

Fire proof furnishings--most home furnishings that are flammable.
 

Caribou

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In my last home I installed two sprinklers, one in the kitchen and one above the furnace. These are the most likely fire sources plus it also provided a means of escape in case of fire. That house already had a metal roof and I installed metal siding on three sides. I also had a chain ladder in case I needed to escape from the upper story. I smelled wild fires many summers but I had a stream in front of my home so they were of mild concern.

The 3-tab roof on this house is about 9 years old but it will be a metal roof in the next few years. We have smelled smoke once here from wild fire.
 

Grizzleyette___Adams

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Wildfires are worrisome enough when it is caused by nature, but more so when caused by BGs and terrorists...as recent news are showing, so prepping for this possibility is certainly worthy of serious planning.


.
 

Grizzleyette___Adams

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Many BOLs are located in places where runaway crown fires could be a problem. Those REALLY concern me. I would think that it would take extraordinary measures to protect property from something like that.

I would love input from anyone here about this.
 

Caribou

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Wildfires are worrisome enough when it is caused by nature, but more so when caused by BGs and terrorists...as recent news are showing, so prepping for this possibility is certainly worthy of serious planning.


.
In my last home wild fires were mostly caused by lightning and such. Around here the fires are mostly caused by idiots burning trash or brush when it is dry and/or windy though lightning makes its presence known.
 

Caribou

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Many BOLs are located in places where runaway crown fires could be a problem. Those REALLY concern me. I would think that it would take extraordinary measures to protect property from something like that.

I would love input from anyone here about this.
Remove any ladder fuels such as brush, dry leaves, and limbs below 10'.
 

Grizzleyette___Adams

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How wide of a "buffer zone" should I create to protect me and mine from the dreaded crown fires?
 

Caribou

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How wide of a "buffer zone" should I create to protect me and mine from the dreaded crown fires?
If the fire has already crowned I'd want 100 yards unless I was in Australia in which case I'd want 100 meters.
 

Caribou

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Here is a Wranglerstar video in which he discusses a fire at his place for the first five minutes of the video. He recommends 2 or 3 extinguishers, I disagree. I have one in each of my three bedrooms, 1 small one under the kitchen sink, 2 in the garage next to the kitchen door, 1 each in the 3 vehicles, and 2 small ones that really don't have a permanent home yet. Total I have 6 ten pounders, 3 five pounders, and 3 smaller ones. I had one home fire and my one and only (then) 20 pounder was totally used up.

Edit: Look at how high he has the trees limbed near his home. This guy was a forest firefighter.
 
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hiwall

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Caribou

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I hear you hiwall, more is always better. "I wish I had less space between me and the fire," said nobody ever.
 

Caribou

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Grizz, do you have a water source? A railbird or other sprinkler system to keep the fire down around the house. Keeping the trees watered in peak fire season could help.

If you are protecting the walls of your structure a fog curtain doesn't help. You need to spray the walls directly as heat will radiate right through a fog curtain. Wood burns at 451℉ and water boils at 212℉. If your wall is wet you are okay.
 

Caribou

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I prefer the 20# extinguishers but Costco puts the 10# on sale a couple of times a year. Each time the did I would buy one or two till I got what I wanted. Fire doubles every minute so having an extinguisher handy is important. If I have to go to the other end of the house for an extinguisher that is 2 to 4 times the fire that I have to put out.

If you enter one of my bedrooms, go to the closet door closest to exit door and reach around the corner and you will find an extinguisher. they are all in the same place, relatively, and they are all have ready access so as to be able to respond with the least amount of time. They are also out of sight which pleases the wife. Red is not part of her decorative scheme.
 

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