The following are tips about fencing, from Firewise USA, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, and the National Fire Protection Association. You can read the entire article on our Facebook page at Foresthill Firewise Communities.
1. Use a noncombustible fence section when it’s attached to a building.
2. The area at the base of the fence should be kept clear of debris. Flame spread to the building will be more likely if fine vegetative fuels (e.g., pine needles, leaf litter and small twigs) have accumulated. Avoid placement of combustible mulch near the fence.
3. A fence design that allows for greater air flow, such as a single panel lattice fence, makes it more difficult for wind-blown embers to accumulate at the planks. If an ignition occurs, it’s also more difficult for lateral flame spread to occur in the fencing material. Fence ignitions from wind-blown embers are more likely to occur at locations where vertical fencing planks attach to horizontal support members. The most vulnerable fencing from this perspective is a “privacy” fence, where the fence planks are on the same side as the horizontal support members.
4. A fence built from lattice that’s applied to both sides of the support posts may be desired for privacy or other landscaping purposes, but should be avoided in wildfire-prone areas. Recent research at NIST has demonstrated that fire growth and lateral flame spread are much greater in this design style.
5. Vinyl fencing is not vulnerable to ember exposures alone, but did burn when subjected to flaming exposures from burning debris. Vinyl fencing will deform if subjected to radiant heat.
If you have any questions, visit our Facebook page at Foresthill Firewise Communities, or call Dory Cox at (530) 401-1750. Sources: National Fire Prevention Association and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.