IBHS’s Wildfire Ready guides provide critical actions to reduce chance of ignition
Mary Anne Byrd
Public Relations Manager
Richburg, SC, Oct. 19, 2023 – Even as the seasons change, many communities are still at risk of wildfire. Property owners can strengthen their homes and businesses year-round using science-based mitigation actions from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). IBHS’s updated Wildfire Ready guides for homes and businesses provide critical steps, based on the latest wildfire research, to address ignition risk and lay out a pathway for property owners to build wildfire resilience.
“Wildfire season now extends beyond just a few months and stretches into early winter, making wildfire prep important year-round,” says IBHS Lead Research Engineer Faraz Hedayati. “While some parts of the West have benefited from snow and rain that have eased drought conditions, it will lead to vegetation growth that can fuel future wildfires. Now is the ideal time to develop a plan and begin making changes to reduce the wildfire risk for your home or business.”
Wildfires like the Camp Fire, Marshall Fire, and more recently, the Lahaina Fire, show the extent of destruction that can occur when wildfire enters a community. IBHS’s Wildfire Ready guides take property owners through three vulnerable areas of a structure – the roof, specific building features, and the five-foot perimeter around a building called Zone 0 – that when mitigated can reduce ignition risk. Addressing all three areas is necessary to increase a structure’s wildfire resilience so embers – the leading cause of ignition – cannot find a weak spot in the building’s exterior and cause ignition.
Fortunately, most homes in America already have a Class A-rated roof, which is the best available fire resistance of any roof type. To mitigate the other two vulnerable areas home and business owners should ensure a building’s vents are ember-resistant, gutters are clear of debris, the lower six inches of vertical space on exterior walls are noncombustible and a five-foot Zone 0 buffer around the structure contains only noncombustible material.
California homeowners can apply for a Wildfire Prepared Home designation to verify they have taken the system of science-based mitigation actions to address these three vulnerable areas shown to meaningfully reduce a home’s wildfire risk.
IBHS’s Wildfire Ready guides offer additional resources to help property owners further increase the resilience of a home or commercial building and prepare for wildfire, including:
- steps to develop a wildfire plan,
- apps to receive updates in the event of a wildfire,
- actions to extend defensible space from five to 30 feet out from the structure, and
- last-minute actions to take before evacuation.
“A home or commercial building is a system,” Hedayati explains. “Embers will find a vulnerability, so it is critical that property owners take all the mitigation actions research shows will improve overall structural resilience as they work together to provide the best protection.”
About the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
The IBHS mission is to conduct objective, scientific research to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss. Learn more at ibhs.org.
About Wildfire Prepared Home
Wildfire Prepared Home is the first-ever wildfire mitigation designation program. Based on the latest wildfire research conducted by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS), it offers California homeowners a path to take science-backed, system-based actions shown to meaningfully reduce a home’s wildfire risk. Learn more at wildfireprepared.org.