ICLR to host wildfire webinar

Published: October 12, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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The Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) has announced a webinar to be hosted later this month, focused on vulnerabilities and mitigation strategies to protect buildings from wildfire.

ICLR says the webinar will take place from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EDT on Oct. 20. The main focus of the event will be to advise on the most common building vulnerabilities from wind-blown ember exposure. The webinar will also look at mitigation strategies in material choices ad design features.

Steve Quarles, the chief scientist for wildfire and durability with the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) will participate in the webinar. He has been with the Research Center since 2011 and studies building performance when exposed to wildfire. Quarles previously worked for the University of California as an advisor.

The ICLR says that buildings catch fire during wildfires when some combustible component of the structure becomes exposed to one or all of the following exposures: wind-blown burning embers (also called firebrands), radiant heat and direct flame contact.

Embers are the most common ignition cause, happening when burning vegetation contacts a building. Embers light structure directly or indirectly.

Embers are the most important cause of building ignitions and are generated by the burning wildland or landscape vegetation, and burning structures.

“Regardless of the name, the purpose is to minimize the opportunity of the wildfire (or spot fire) to burn directly to, or close enough to, a building (i.e. home or business),” the information said. “Developing and maintaining effective ‘defensible space’ will minimize the chance of this happening.”

“Examples of an indirect exposure include ember ignition of vegetation or other combustible materials (e.g., a woodpile or storage shed) located near a building, with subsequent ignition of the building by a radiant and/or direct flame contact exposure. Indirect ignitions can be addressed with careful attention to the selection, location and maintenance of vegetation and other combustibles on the property. In the United States, this area is often referred to as “defensible space.” In Canada, the FireSmart Program uses the term “priority zones.” Regardless of the name, the purpose is to minimize the opportunity of the wildfire (or spot fire) to burn directly to, or close enough to, a building (i.e. home or business). Developing and maintaining effective “defensible space” will minimize the chance of this happening.”