Modify the building materials and design features of the home for wildfire resistance.
Home hardening can affect exposure and susceptibility. Explore your community’s risk.
About Home Hardening
A home’s survivability in a wildfire is largely based on the building materials, design features, and nearby landscaping. Homes designed and built to wildfire-resistant standards have reduced susceptibility and are more likely to survive a wildfire. Home hardening is an important component of the Home Ignition Zone.
Homes lost to wildfire are most often ignited by embers or small, low-intensity fires. Ember ignition can occur when embers enter the building through vents or an open window. Once inside, embers can ignite furnishings or other combustible materials stored there. Ember ignition can also occur when embers accumulate and ignite combustible parts of the building, such as a wood shake roof, combustible decking, or debris accumulated on a roof or in a gutter. Vegetation or other nearby combustible materials can be ignited by embers, causing a spot fire and subjecting a portion of the siding, windows, or doors to fire.
Building codes and standards have been designed to help reduce the susceptibility of a home to wildfire. Several components of the home should be addressed, including the roof, gutters and eaves, vents, siding, windows and doors, and decks, fences, and other attachments.
AIM: Action, Implementation & Mitigation
The Action, Implementation, and Mitigation Program (AIM) seeks to increase local capacity and support for wildfire risk reduction activities in high risk communities. Selected participants in AIM will receive technical and financial support and become affiliate members of Coalitions and Collaboratives, Inc. (COCO).
Community Mitigation Assistance Team (CMAT)
Community Mitigation Assistance Teams are a national interagency resource designed to work collaboratively with local partners to build sustainable mitigation programs focused on community fire adaptation actions on the ground. A CMAT works with communities at high risk of wildfire to analyze their mitigation programs and barriers, develop workable solutions to help move mitigation forward, share best mitigation practices for achieving outcomes, and build successful partnerships.
Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire
Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) works with communities to reduce wildfire risk through improved land use planning. CPAW’s team of professional planners, foresters, economists, and risk modelers help communities integrate wildfire mitigation into the development planning process. CPAW services are provided at no cost to the community, and include land use planning recommendations, hazard assessments, custom research, and training.
Disaster Safety features projects to help home and business owners protect their property from damage caused by wildfire and other natural disasters. This site is a product of the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)—a nonprofit, scientific research and communications organization supported solely by property insurers and reinsurers.
Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network
The Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network connects and supports people and communities who are striving to live more safely with wildfire. The purpose of FAC Net is to exchange information, collaborate to enhance the practice of fire adaptation, and work together and at multiple scales to help communities live safely with fire. This includes embracing resiliency concepts and taking action before, during and after wildfires. They offer a Fire Adapted Communities Self-Assessment Tool (FAC SAT) to help communities assess their level of fire adaptation and track their capacity to live safely with fire over time
A program of the National Fire Protection Association, Firewise USA® teaches people how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together and take action now to prevent losses. Firewise USA® is a network of sites from across the nation taking action and ownership in preparing and protecting their homes against the threat of wildfire.
Ready, Set, Go!
The Ready, Set, Go! (RSG) Program seeks to empower fire departments to engage the residents they serve in wildland fire community risk reduction. The RSG! Program provides tools and resources for fire departments to use as they help residents gain an understanding of their wildland fire risk and actions individuals can take to reduce that risk. The RSG! Program is managed by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC).
Wildland Fire Assessment Program
The Wildland Fire Assessment Program (WFAP) is a joint effort by the U.S. Forest Service and the National Volunteer Fire Council to provide volunteer firefighters and non-operational personnel, such as Fire Corps members, with training on how to properly conduct assessments for homes located in the wildland-urban interface. The program offers in-person training, online training, and toolkits.
Research & Science
- Building a wildfire-resistant home: Codes and costs. Headwaters Economics. (2018).
- Home Survival in Wildfire-Prone Areas: Building Materials and Design Considerations. Quarles SL, Valachovic Y, Nakamura GM, Nader GA, & DeLasaux MJ. (2010). University of California Agricultural and Natural Resources Publication 8393. Davis, CA: University of California.
- Preventing disaster: Home ignitability in the wildland-urban interface. Cohen JD. (2000). Journal of Forestry, 98(3), 15-21.
- The importance of building construction materials relative to other factors affecting structure survival during wildfire. Syphard AD, Brennan TJ, & Keeley JE. (2017). International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 21, 140-147.
Learn how these actions align with federal policies and initiatives.