Twin Falls County Firewise Instagram Twin Falls County Firewise Facebook Constructing a Firewise Home

Firewise roof

When constructing a Firewise home remember to consider location and materials.

Location

  • Slope of terrain; be sure to build on the most level portion of the land, since fire spreads more rapidly on even minor slopes.
  • Set your one-story structure at least 30 feet back from any ridge or cliff; increase distance if your home will be higher than one story.

Materials

  • Use construction materials that are fire-resistant or non-combustible whenever possible.
  • For roof construction, use materials such as Class-A asphalt shingles, slate or clay tile, metal, cement and concrete products, or terra-cotta tiles.  A fire-resistant sub-roof can also add protection.
  • On exterior wall facing, fire-resistive stucco or masonry may be much better choices than vinyl, which can soften and melt.
  • Window materials and size are important. Smaller panes hold up better in their frames than larger ones.  Double pane glass and tempered glass are more reliable and effective heat barriers than single pane glass.  Plastic skylights can melt.
  • Install non-flammable shutters on windows and skylights.
  • To prevent sparks from entering your home through vents, cover exterior attic and under-floor vents with wire screening no larger than 1/8-inch mesh.
  • Provide at least two ground-level doors for easy and safe exit, and at least two means of escape (i.e., doors or windows) in each room so that everyone has a way out.

Added Structures

  • If you wish to attach an all-wood fence to your house, use masonry or metal as protective barriers between the fence and house.
  • Use metal when constructing a trellis and cover it with high-moisture, low flammability vegetation.
  • Prevent combustible materials and debris from accumulating beneath patio decks or elevated porches.  Screen or box-in areas below patios and decks with wire screening no larger than 1/8-inch mesh.
  • Make sure an elevated wooden deck is not located at the top of a hill where it will be in direct line of fire moving up-slope.  Consider a terrace instead.

Other Tips

  • Every home should have a smoke detector.  This is a simple addition that can save your family's lives.
  • Every home should have at least two different entrance and exit routes.
  • All roads and driveways should be at least 16 feet in width to allow large emergency equipment to reach your home.
  • Post your house address at the beginning of your driveway or on your house if it is easily visible from the road.
  • Make sure your street name and house number are not duplicated elsewhere in the county.
  • Post street signs so they are visible from each intersection.
  • Enclose the underside of balconies and above-ground decks with fire resistant materials.
  • Consider sprinkler systems within the house.  They may protect your home while you're away or prevent a house fire from spreading into the wild lands.