Why did some Fort McMurray homes survive?

Homes that survived in Fort McMurray in otherwise decimated neighbourhoods were largely due to homeowners who had adopted FireSmart measures

TORONTO/CNW/ – According to a preliminary report released Aug. 22 by the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, homes that survived in Fort McMurray in otherwise decimated neighbourhoods were those more resistant to ignition by embers.

This was largely due to homeowners who had adopted FireSmart mitigation measures to a greater degree than the owners of adjacent homes.

In ‘Why some homes survived: Learning from the Fort McMurray wildfire disaster’, researcher/author Alan Westhaver sought to answer the question: ‘Why did some homes survive this wildland/urban interface fire with little or no damage, while others were vulnerable to ignition and destroyed?’

After evaluating the fire environment and clearances between homes and the forest edge, Westhaver discounted direct contact from flames or radiant heat of the forest fire as being significant sources of home ignition at Fort McMurray. Instead, he concluded that wind-driven embers were the most probable cause for the majority of early home ignitions in the areas where the fire made its transition from forest into urban neighbourhoods.

Says Westhaver, “In all neighbourhoods studied, homes whose owners had adopted FireSmart guidelines survived much more frequently than homes where they had not, despite the extraordinarily harsh conditions. FireSmart works, it is a very effective program to reduce the probability of home ignition and wildfire losses.

“Home survival in these circumstances is not random, nor is it a function of luck,” he says. “Whether a home is destroyed by an interface wildfire or not greatly depends on conditions immediately around the structure, the area for which homeowners are responsible.”

The preliminary report can be downloaded for free at www.iclr.org.

Established in 1998 by Canada’s property and casualty insurers, ICLR is an independent, not-for-profit research institute for disaster loss prevention research and education.

 

 

Just Posted

B.C. turns up the heat

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for most the province due to high temperatures

Updated: RCMP find body of missing woman who fell into B.C. River

The body of Jessie Lavallee was found in the North Thompson River south of Barriere

‘Daddy bonus’ common in B.C. workplaces, study finds

UBC researchers say dads don’t have to be number one in the office to get a raise

Updated: RCMP find body of missing woman who fell into B.C. River

The body of Jessie Lavallee was found in the North Thompson River south of Barriere

30 degrees and warmer forecasted with heat wave in B.C.

The weather could stay well into next week, according to Environment Canada

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Remains of two people found on Vancouver Island

Officials have not said whether or not the remains belong to two missing men, last seen in Ucluelet in mid-May

Helping B.C.’s helpers cope

The MRT has helped almost 7,000 first responders and street workers in 57 communities in B.C.

Border officials argue B.C. man’s Facebook posts threat to Canada’s security

A B.C. Supreme Court judge acquitted Othman Hamdan of terrorism charges last September

Reena Virk’s mother has died

Both of Virk’s parents became activists against bullying in wake of daughters’ death

B.C. announces $75M to help friends, family care for seniors at home

Funding will go towards respite care and adult day programs

Timely tide attracts another pod of orcas to Victoria

The pod left the harbour about 30 minutes later

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Most Read