For any home or structure located in the midst of trees or heavy foliage, the clearing of combustible materials away from the structure, adding non combustible landscape, and/or irrigated landscape is crucial in developing a defensible space around the structure against fire. Any qualified fire department representative will explain that having this mitigated space is an absolute must for structural survival in the presence of a wildfire. The soaked landscape releases moisture into the air. This lowers the ambient temperature and increases the humidity level of the immediate area. These effects extend some distance above ground level. The result is that the advancing wildfire will tend to be deflected by this less supportive environmental pocket and pass by the protected property.
One of the major sources of wildfires are lightening strikes. Lightening strikes often hit trees, power lines, transmission towers, or simply open ground. Be aware that a fire might not start immediately after the lightening strike. It could smolder for a period of time before becoming a full blown wildfire.
Most people believe that it is the advancing line of flames during a wildfire that destroys homes. However, it is the embers that create spot fires by igniting vegetation, debris, and flammable materials that eventually lead to igniting the exterior of a home.
FROM THE COLORADO STATE FOREST SERVICE "FIREWISE" MANUAL...
Two factors have emerged as a primary determinants of a home's ability to survive wildfires: choosing fire-resistant roofing material and creating a wildfire defensible zone. First, it is important to choose a fire-resistant roofing material that is rated class C or higher when building a house in, or near forest or grasslands. Avoid flammable materials such as wood or shake shingles.
Choose surrounding vegetation wisely: maintain a greenbelt (irrigated if possible) immediately around your home using grass, a flower garden and/or fire-resistant ornamental shrubbery. An alternative is rock or other non-combustible material, which may be preferable if your house is made of wood or other flammable materials. Avoid using bark or wood chip mulch in this area.
To complement and enhance defensible space, waveGUARD™ Corporation has designed and developed an exterior fire sprinkler system to protect the structure along with a 30'- 40' perimeter around the structure. This process of hydro-mitigation wets down this defensible space and structure with a mixture of water and fire retardant. This decreases the odds of severe damage to your home or structure. The wetting down of the structure and mitigated space increases the humidity of the area, decreases the area temperature, and works to prevent embers from a fire from igniting the structure.