We have often talked about the majestic scenery in Oregon, but with all that beauty comes the danger of a forest fire. Now, this does not happen with the regularity of a state like California, for instance, but Oregon does see them. Generally speaking, wildfire season lasts from May through October. Through the early part of September 2023, Oregon already had more than 1,700 fires, so, if you are going to build your Oregon custom-built home in an area that is prone to wildfires, you are going to want to incorporate some fire-resistant measures.
Strategic Site Planning – Before you ever start construction, you will want to consult with a residential construction project manager to identify the best possible location for the home on the property. Your goal is to use the natural landscape as a sort of fire barrier to keep the home as distant as possible from the densest areas of natural vegetation.
Defensible Space – Once the location has been identified, take additional measures to create a defensible space, such as clearing any remaining vegetation that could catch fire that is in the immediate vicinity of the home. You should also incorporate fire-resistant landscaping, such as plants that retain a lot of moisture, such as succulents, as well as naturally fire-resistant plants, such as rockrose.
Fire-Resistant Materials – Because of the location, you are going to want to pay particular attention to the materials used for the build to ensure they are fire-resistant. Consider using non-combustible materials, such as brick, stone, or metal. Instead of using traditional wood or shingles for the roofing, use metal, slate, or clay tiles.
Windows – During a fire, cheaper windows will shatter from the intense heat, so this is not an area where you want to skimp. Double- or triple-paned windows or tempered glass can help resist the heat in the early stages of a fire. Window screens can also be installed to prevent floating embers from directly contacting the glass.
Vented Soffits & Ember-Resistant Vents – Embers can enter homes through vulnerable roof and under-floor vents. Using vents designed to resist embers will go a long way in ensuring those embers do not get inside the home and start a fire from the inside.
Fire-Resistant Decking – I will be the first person to tell you that I love a beautiful wood deck, but in an area prone to wildfire, all you would be doing is adding kindling to a possible fire. There are plenty of fire-resistant materials that can be used to simulate the look of wood without the dangers.
Emergency Water Sources – Having an emergency water source nearby can be a property-saving measure in the instance of a fire. This is the excuse you need to have that pool you have always wanted or to install a rainwater harvesting system that utilizes a cistern.
Incorporate Fire Barriers – Earlier, we mentioned using natural landscaping as a fire barrier, but you should also consider incorporating fire barriers into the design, such as a fire-resistant wall or fence that can halt, or at least slow down, the path of the fire to the home.
Now, we realize this is something you may not have been considering when planning out your Oregon custom-built home, which is why we recommend, at the very least, using residential construction consulting services to help design and oversee the construction of your new home. For more information, give us a call at 888-402-4180.