April 26, 2016
The first step in applying an effective wildfire mitigation strategy is to understand how fire occurs, how wildland fires ignite homes, and how conditions can create highly ignitable homes and buildings. Fire can only occur if three elements are present—air, heat and fuel. If you remove any one of these three elements, fire cannot happen. And since we cannot eliminate air or easily control heat, we must focus on fuel.
Fire spreads based on the type and quantity of fuel that surrounds it. It is not a flowing, sweeping, or moving force like high wind that cannot be stopped. Instead, it spreads as a continual process of burning based on the size and shape, arrangement, and moisture content of fuels.
Natural fuel sources vary throughout the United States. Forests are the dominant fuel type in the Northwest and Great Lakes regions. Chaparral brush is predominant in the Southwest, and grass and oak woodlands are most prevalent in the plains. Hot and humid weather conditions increase the likelihood of wildfire in any area, and these conditions are possible nearly anywhere in the United States.
In order to control or eliminate wildfire, we must build, rebuild and repair homes with fuel management in mind. This means building using noncombustible materials, and planning a fireresistive landscape to strengthen homes and buildings in the event that wildfire strikes
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