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Man, it’s hot out there!

Wildfireprotection_2At this time of year, a home improvement writer’s interest typically turns to wet-weather topics like replacing the roof and cleaning out the gutters. But here we are in the heat of fire season.

This graphic in today’s L.A. Times (click on graphic to enlarge) gives advice on increasing a home’s ability to survive a wildfire. By now, we know to clear brush away from the house and not to install wood-shake roofs. And we’re starting to learn that dual-pane windows help resist fire, as well as conserve energy in those moments when a fire is not raging outside.

Here are a couple of other ideas to consider:

Wire mesh inside vent openings. This will prevent hot embers from getting inside the attic space, and the wire mesh should have spaces no larger than 1/8 inch. This is a simple home improvement project just about anyone could tackle with a few bucks’ worth of mesh and a staple gun.

Boxed eaves. If the eaves are closed up, hot embers will not fly up and under the eaves, where they could smolder before catching the roof on fire. (Overhanging decks present the same danger.) It might take a carpenter to do this job right.

These ideas are echoed in a 2004 op-ed piece in the San Diego Union-Tribune titled "The Cedar fire: a question of blame?" It stated:

The ultimate responsibility for fire safety lands squarely with individual homeowners. It is their duty to do everything they can to retrofit existing structures with low fire-risk features: boxed eaves, double-glazed windows, ember-resistant attic vents, sealed gaps between roof tiles and deck, and no exposed wood surfaces, including fences and roofing.

Also, Kathy Kristof’s Q&A on fire insurance

5 Comments on Man, it’s hot out there!

  1. it really puzzled me why and how the authorities still never had any solution or maybe just some sort of to contain these wildfires…these have been going on for years and as i see it, its getting worst and more uncontrollable…maybe they could do just like setting up water tanks with sprinklers every 50 miles to areas that are very vulnerable…if the middle east has oil pipeline, why cant the US has water pipelines…i really pity those people affected out there..

  2. Sorry, off topic. I came on to wish everyone in the socal area the best of luck and hope no more homes are affected by the fires, and I see the title of this post. Unfortunate connection aside, I don’t know what to say about one person losing their home and belongings to fire, let alone many hundreds. Sending the best of luck and good wishes from the east coast.

  3. I am wondering if people have to pay their morgage if they lost their houses and are waiting for their houses to be rebuilt?

  4. “I am wondering if people have to pay their morgage if they lost their houses and are waiting for their houses to be rebuilt?
    Posted by: Eileen ”
    Generally a homeowner’s policies list the owner (mortgagee) and the lender (mortgagor) as joint beneficiaries. That means the insurance company cuts the chek listing both the owner and lender on the check. If the house (not the land) was insured for more than was owed, that part in excess of the mortgage goes to the owner and the rest goes to the bank. If the loan is for more than the value of the house, the lender gets it all. If they want to rebuild, they work out the use of the funds with their lender. The lender may release the money as needed for construction or it may be written as a new loan.
    The house is only security for the loan. Having the house burn down does not wipe out the fact that the money is owed and payments are due on a certain day. (And the lender still has a lien on the land that is left.) They most definitely have to make the payments whether the house is there or not unless they work something out with the lender while waiting for insurance proceeds.
    No insurance and still have a mortgage? They have to keep paying the mortgage. PERIOD.
    Most homeowner’s poicies will pay for temporary accomodations while the property is rebuilt. (But – check to make sure that your policy has that provison.)
    (I’m a retired lawyer.)

  5. HOUSE BURNED DOWN, DO NOT WANT TO REBUILD ON THAT LAND. DOES THE INSURER PAY FOR THE PRICE OF THE LAND IN THEIR SETTLEMENT?

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