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#1
Old 09-04-2009, 10:08 AM
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Can a fire blanket be used to cover a house (wildfire related)?

Is it possible to employ a type of fire blanket over a house to protect it from nearby flames? I'm envisioning a lightweight yet sturdy material that could be unfolded and draped over a home to protect it from nearby fire hazards. It would also have a reflective exterior to aid in the deflection of heat. You wouldn't be able to occupy the home during its use but it could be used before an evacuation of the area to save the home.
Sound practical or is there something like this already on the market?

I find it hard to believe that those that can afford a 3 million dollar home have absolutely no protection from wildfires.
#2
Old 09-04-2009, 10:12 AM
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How are you going to drape a house-sized blanket over a 20+ foot tall house?

Hippogryphs?
#3
Old 09-04-2009, 10:16 AM
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The problem is the temperatures that are reached, not just that flames come in contact with the house. Metal can melt in these blazes. Look at the Australian fire pictures to see this.
#4
Old 09-04-2009, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
How are you going to drape a house-sized blanket over a 20+ foot tall house?

Hippogryphs?
or Helicopters, portable cranes, migrant workers. Tarps are draped over buildings all the time for various purposes.

I would guess the heat created by these fires would combust the house underneath the blanket though.
#5
Old 09-04-2009, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beowulff View Post
How are you going to drape a house-sized blanket over a 20+ foot tall house?

Hippogryphs?
No problem. The blanket is already on the roof folded neatly with pull ropes accessible from the ground. As you pull on the release ropes you unfold the blanket. Something like that.

I realize heat is the major factor, but a highly reflective surface and some common sense as far as tree trimming and such might give you a fighting chance, no?
#6
Old 09-04-2009, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Speak to me Maddie! View Post
I would guess the heat created by these fires would combust the house underneath the blanket though.
That was my thought too. I wonder if something like this has been tested. Also, if the house did reach critical combustion temperature there might not be enough oxygen to feed the flames if the "blanket" sealed the house sufficiently.
#7
Old 09-04-2009, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Uncommon Sense View Post
That was my thought too. I wonder if something like this has been tested. Also, if the house did reach critical combustion temperature there might not be enough oxygen to feed the flames if the "blanket" sealed the house sufficiently.
It is an interesting idea. But I'm just thinking of the fire safe I have at the office for instance. It is seriously insulated, several inches of foam-like insulation covered in steel. And it will only hold out for two or three hours before the stuff inside combusts. And that's just in a regular office fire. I don't see how it would be possible to redirect or sink the amount of heat created by a forest fire. Especially over an area of 3500 square feet or so.

Last edited by Speak to me Maddie!; 09-04-2009 at 10:44 AM.
#8
Old 09-04-2009, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncommon Sense View Post
Is it possible to employ a type of fire blanket over a house to protect it from nearby flames?
It's done quite regularly during wildland fires to remote structures such as vacation cabins and utlity barns using an aluminized wrap. Here's a link to a commercial product used by firefighters.

Of course, there are limitations in its use. If you are thinking to use it with homes such as the Station Fire, it's just not going to happen. There is insufficient time nor personnel to do the job, let alone money. More importantly, structure wrapping just doesn't work with large fire and fire storms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncommon Sense View Post
I find it hard to believe that those that can afford a 3 million dollar home have absolutely no protection from wildfires.
The best protection is don't build within the urban interface. If you insist on doing it, build a large inground swimming pool, and keep it filled during fire season. Install huge pumps and connect it all to a building sprinkler system. However, during a fire storm, all bets are off.

Last edited by Duckster; 09-04-2009 at 11:01 AM.
#9
Old 09-04-2009, 11:45 AM
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How about lightweight portable walls made out of silica tiles like they use on the bottom of the space shuttle?
#10
Old 09-04-2009, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hampshire View Post
How about lightweight portable walls made out of silica tiles like they use on the bottom of the space shuttle?
Think time, money and personnel, all in short supply during a fire.
#11
Old 09-04-2009, 05:36 PM
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In last year's fire season, I read about a temporary foam coating you can spray on in a few hours. It will wash off in the next big rain. It's not cheap; it's a few thousand dollars per application. For it to work, you must also follow common sense fire safety rules. No shrubs or fire-food within hundreds of feet of the house, no wood shingles, etc, etc.

That will protect your house from being set alight by sparks and flying debris, if you're lucky. Still, having your house in the forest carries a lot of hazard. Some folks don't want to move to the forest, only to clear away all the trees for a hundred yards.

Companies will insure your forest home, for a price. They have a pretty good idea what your odds are. You can build your house just about any damnfool place you want, for a price.
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