Why Firefighters Can’t Always Save Every Home


Most fire authorities have priorities in wildfires:

  1. Save lives
  2. Protect improved property
  3. Protect unimproved property (also known as putting out the wildfire)

Firefighters’ first priority is to save lives. This includes the public as well as those fighting the fire. If a home has poor access, lack of escape routes and safety zones or no safe place to fight the fire, then firefighters will not protect that home because it puts their lives at too great of a risk. This …

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 …