There are three threats or exposures that a building can experience during a wildfire, grassfire or brushfire: windborne embers, radiant heat, and direct flame contact. When considering the vulnerability of your home or business to wildfire, you need to evaluate and address all three potential exposures.

Ember exposure is considered the most important, because most building ignitions have been attributed to them. Embers can ignite building components and contents directly, or ignite vegetation and other combustible items adjacent to or near a building; this then can result in a radiant heat and/or direct flame contact exposure. For example, embers may land on and ignite debris that has accumulated in your gutter. The burning debris then causes direct flame contact on the edge of the roof. Or, embers that ignite nearby vegetation could result in a radiant heat exposure to the side of a building, potentially igniting combustible siding or breaking the glass in a window. The opening from broken glass then would allow embers to enter the building and ignite combustible materials, such as carpeting or furniture.

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Congressional Roundtable

IBHS co-hosted a Congressional Delegation and South Carolina Gov. Haley on Nov. 12, 2013 to discuss building more disaster-resistant communities, and demonstrate on-going IBHS research, including a wildfire test demonstration.

Creating Defensible Space Zones

Identify, create and maintain three zones to keep wildfire from igniting vegetation and structures.

Decks, Patios, and Porches

Resources to protect your deck, patio, or porch from wildfire damage.

Disaster Planning: There’s an App for That

The new Know Your Plan app gives you the mobile power and organization to help keep your family and your home safer during a disaster.

Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Property from Wildfire

Top 10 Ways to Protect Your Property from Wildfire

Don’t get burned by wildfire, prepare your property before it’s threatened.


Solutions for evaluating risks and preventing entry of ember and flames.

Vulnerabilities of Buildings to Wildfire Exposures (2011)

A summary of findings from the 2011 wildfire testing at the IBHS Research Center.

Wildfire Publications

Download IBHS Wildfire Publications

Wildfire Roof Protection

Resources to reduce your risk of roof damage during a wildfire.

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