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Homes with wood roofs most susceptible to wildfires

Posted at 5:50 PM, Jul 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 19:50:09-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah residents who live in wildfire prone area should be warned that a new study says they should not have wood shingles on their homes.

The new report is from Headwaters Economics, a western U.S. think tank, and written by their policy lead and wildfire researcher Kimiko Barrett.

“So wood roofs are the most vulnerable component of a home to a wildfire. Because they are the largest surface area,” Barrett said.

The reason roofs are the first line of defense for a structure is because fires tend to attack from the air.

“It's actually embers that fly miles ahead of a wildfire,” added Barrett.

Barrett said data is unavailable for much of the U.S., including from most Utah counties, but even the currently limited information shows well over a million such homes in the country, including more than five thousand in the state.

The data the researchers worked with only had about a quarter of the nation's roofs assessed. with only Davis, Utah and Weber counties represented in Utah.