In an effort to build safer, smarter and stronger homes in areas prone to wildfires, the International Code Council will provide its Urban-Wildland Interface Code free to communities.
"Since we can't stop people from building in areas that are at risk from wildfires, the least we can do is make sure they have every opportunity to minimize the danger," said James Lee Witt, ICC CEO and former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The Urban-Wildland Interface Code was developed with support from FEMA's grant program, administered by the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services through the Office of the State Fire Marshal. It was a result of the 1993 Southern California wildfires.
In addition to technical construction and architectural requirements, recommendations for homeowners in the Urban-Wildland Interface Code include:
- Roofs should be made of fire-retardant materials such as tile, a classified roof covering (identified on the label as Class A), or steel;
- Create a defensible space around the home--30 to 100 feet away from the home (depending on exposure to natural vegetation areas);
- Move combustible materials, such as wood piles, away from structures;
- Thin out ornamental shrubs and bushes, and remove dead vegetation;
- Cut back dead or dying tree limbs, especially those that overhang the roof, and all vegetation within 10 fee of a chimney; and
- Keep grass and low-to-ground vegetation (ivy, vines, weeds) to three to six inches high.