FEMA Mitigation Best Practices: Defensible Space and Fire Resistant Building Materials Saves Property   [open pdf - 262KB]

This document is part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Best Practices Portfolio. "The FEMA Best Practices Portfolio consists of mitigation stories submitted by individuals and communities that describe measures they have taken to reduce the loss of life and property from disasters. These Best Practices are meant to provide ideas and concepts about reducing losses and to encourage others to evaluate their own risk and consider mitigation as a long-term solution to reducing that risk." This Best Practice Story is about wildfire mitigation efforts in California. "'When it looks like it's snowing and its 90 degrees outside, that's not a good thing,' recalled Darren Borgedalen of Mountain Ranch, a community in rural Calaveras County, California. The 'snow' Borgedalen was referring to was actually ash from the Butte Fire that swept his property in September 2015. It burned through more than 70,000 acres, mostly in Calaveras County, damaging or destroying more than 1,000 homes. [...] For years Borgedalen and his wife had maintained a defensible space around their property by keeping the underbrush cleared. With the wildfire fast approaching he brought in his bulldozer and cleared the trail he had established in the previous years. Meanwhile, Mrs. Borgedalen began to clean up any problem areas surrounding the house, garage and workshop before the fire arrived. Borgedalen had used fire resistant metal roofing and siding on his house, garage, and shop building, which withstood the extreme heat and the burning embers from the approaching wildfire."

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