Vulnerabilities of Buildings to Wildfire Exposures

Article Written by:
Stephen L. Quarles, Ph.D.,
IBHS Senior Scientist and South Carolina Wind and Hail Underwriting Association Chair

Home and Building Exposure to Wildfires

Building ignitions during wildfires occur when a component or components of a home or building are exposed to one or more of the three basic wildfire exposures. These exposures include 1) burning embers (also called firebrands), 2) direct flame contact, and 3) radiant heat. Burning embers are the most important cause of home ignitions. When …

How Wildfire Threatens a House

Article Written by:

  • Glenn Nader, University of California Cooperative Extension, Yuba City, CA
  • Ed Smith, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, Reno, NV
  • Stephen L. Quarles, Insurance Intitue for Business & Home Safety, Richburg, SC

Knowing how wildfire threatens a home can effectively reduce the wildfire risk. Wildfire can threaten a home in three ways:

  • Wind-blown embers (firebrands)
  • Contact by flames
  • Radiant heat.

Wind-blown Embers

Embers are the leading cause of home loss during wildfire. Embers are burning pieces of vegetation …