Rising from the Ashes: Recovery Meets Resilience

Considerations as California Wine Country Rebuilds

TAMPA, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Rebuilding from one of the most devastating fires in California’s
history will be a long, complicated process with questions, concerns,
and an overwhelming desire to be back home, in the special place that no
hotel or guest bedroom can ever be.

But going back home isn’t possible for thousands of families who face
the question of whether to go back to their property and rebuild or to
permanently relocate. If the decision is to rebuild, should the same
house be rebuilt, or should homeowners rebuild differently? Is building
a more wildfire-resistant home possible and affordable?

The non-profit Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
urges home and business owners to speak to their insurer about their
options. IBHS also offers extensive, free guidance on how to reduce the
vulnerability of homes and property to wildfire. The focus of this
guidance is on understanding and reducing the vulnerability of the home
to wind-blown embers. As is often the case, the wind driven embers
during the recent fires were a major factor in the rapid fire spread and
ignition of homes, not flames from the wildfire. However, after ember
ignition of some homes occurred, other nearby homes likely were ignited
from exposure to elevated levels of radiant heat or flames from the
ember-ignited homes.

“Homes located in wildfire prone areas that have improved resistance to
exposures from wind-blown embers are within reach of any budget,” says
Steve Quarles, Ph.D., chief scientist for wildfire and durability at
IBHS, and a California resident. “Even if your budget is relatively
small, there are meaningful steps you can take to protect your existing
home or your next home. These steps include modifications to your house
and property, always keeping in mind the goal of reducing the
vulnerability of your home to wind-blown embers.”

Materials, design features and the location of the house on the property
affect the vulnerability of a home to wildfire, as does the selection
and location of vegetation and other landscaping features on the
property. Routine maintenance is an important component of both items.
It is also important to note that extreme weather, which can include
higher temperatures and lower relative humidity, but more importantly
the higher wind speeds, will exacerbate wildfire exposures to your home
and property. Accordingly, IBHS offers the following guidance to all who
live in California and other wildfire-prone areas across the United
States and Canada.

About the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)

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.

Contacts

Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
Susan G.
Millerick, 813-675-1066
@NewsIBHS
smillerick@ibhs.org