Jan 31, 2020: How To Build a Fire-proof House

As I mentioned in last week’s Newsletter, the fire danger has subsided a lot over the last couple of weeks. Tomorrow will be another test with temperatures in our area predicted to be over 40C (104F) and hot, north-westerly winds. But next week is looking cool again so we’re not too worried at the moment.

As the dust and the smoke settles, Australia is starting to look at what we can learn from these horrendous fires that have so far destroyed about 2,500 homes. Building a house that can withstand an intense bushfire is a very difficult thing to do and I don’t claim to be any sort of expert on the subject. Personally I prefer not to live too close to an area of high bushfire danger. The Greeny Flat is nicely positioned within an easy walk to the bush but not surrounded by forest. So we can enjoy the natural environment without being threatened by it but we still went to a fair bit of trouble to make sure it is fire resistant enough to (hopefully) withstand a heavy ember attack.

South Coast House Survives Fires

With careful design and attention to detail this house came through a bad fire almost undamaged.

With careful design and attention to detail this house came through a bad fire almost undamaged.

There seem to be plenty of people who do want to live right in the middle of the bush and many of them were the ones who lost their homes to the recent fires. The house in the photo above, however, was one that survived because it was very carefully designed and built to withstand a direct hit from a bushfire. Which is exactly what happened to it earlier this month. As you can see from the photo, everything burned right around it but the house came through virtually unscathed.

Here is a link to the article on the Southern Forest Life website which describes what happened and how this house survived, even though the owners evacuated and were not there to turn on the fire fighting pumps and sprinklers.

I found it very interesting reading the details of how they made this house fire proof and I think there are some valuable lessons to be learned. The metal shutters on the windows is something I’ve heard about but not seen before. As the author points out, many of the features that make the house fire proof also help to make it more energy efficient as well.

Hopefully these types of lessons will lead to fewer losses the next time the fires hit as well as houses that use less energy the rest of the time.

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