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  1. #1
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    Default Fires. Bugging out

    The fires in my neighborhood finally got to me. Decided to bug out. Not mandatory, but the mandatory evac areas are a mile away and the fire just a bit farther. Packed a couple of days clothing, a couple of treasures, the cats, girlfriend, her son, a machete (in case of the zombie apocalypse) and a can of WD-40 (couldn't find my duck tape). Hope the house is still there when I get back.

    It's really bad.

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/topics/?t=fire

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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    Good luck, and be safe...


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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    Gunnar,

    I've been watching it on the news and have seen what looked like burned out neighborhods.

    Hope all goes well and that you guys stay safe and okay, and that your house (and those around it) remain standing with little or no damage.

    Do you have any sprinklers you can set up to get everything wet around the house (including the house and roof), and keep it wet? Not sure how that water shortage has effected the ability to do that?

    Take care and be safe.

    Added with edit - I just realized that for your post to have been "today" that you had to have made it very early, so I looked at the time: 3:20 am ... holy smokes, you were on the move early!

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 10-11-2017 at 06:19 AM.
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  4. #4
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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    The fires in my neighborhood finally got to me. Decided to bug out. Not mandatory, but the mandatory evac areas are a mile away and the fire just a bit farther. Packed a couple of days clothing, a couple of treasures, the cats, girlfriend, her son, a machete (in case of the zombie apocalypse) and a can of WD-40 (couldn't find my duck tape). Hope the house is still there when I get back.

    It's really bad.

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/topics/?t=fire
    Gunnar, like everyone else we have been watching it on TV.

    Glad you have decided to leave the area. We were in the Smokey Mountains last year the day it all erupted, it is a scary feeling. I hope and pray your home is spared and for the containment of the fires.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    The fires in my neighborhood finally got to me. Decided to bug out. Not mandatory, but the mandatory evac areas are a mile away and the fire just a bit farther. Packed a couple of days clothing, a couple of treasures, the cats, girlfriend, her son, a machete (in case of the zombie apocalypse) and a can of WD-40 (couldn't find my duck tape). Hope the house is still there when I get back.

    It's really bad.

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/topics/?t=fire
    Gunnar, like everyone else we have been watching it on TV.

    Glad you have decided to leave the area. We were in the Smokey Mountains last year the day it all erupted, it is a scary feeling. I hope and pray your home is spared and for the containment of the fires.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    I was looking at one of the links ( http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/75...ns?artslide=21 ) in a link Gunnar posted and noticed a common element in much of the building fires.

    Photos 1, 2, 3, 11, 12, 15, 16, 18, 19, and 21 show still-somewhat-green vegetation around burned out buildings, that indicates (to me) that it is quite possible (likely even) that the roof of the buildings caught on fire, burning the rest of each building down.

    My guess as to the type of roof covering would be composition asphalt shingles (I doubt they allowed wood shingles/shakes there due to fire risk, if allowed, then wood shingles/shakes could have been installed too).

    In forested areas, slate, concrete/clay tile, even metal (while metal roofs would not catch on fire, they could transfer the heat to the wood structure below the metal, potentially causing the wood to combust, and do so at a much faster rate than slate or concrete/clay tiles), would not catch on fire from hot embers being blown onto the roof from a nearby fire.

    Just an observation from looking at those photos.

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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    Thanks folks.

    Yes, we were watching the fires in the hills and decided to not wait for the last minute. This way, we could collect the cats and the few treasures that were worth saving. While the fire line was still reasonably far away, the weather report was for high winds and I wasn't sure which way they were going to blow. If offshore (which was what had moved the fires into Fountaingrove and Coffee Park, then we would potentially be in the path. If onshore, then we would be clear. Homes a bit more than a mile away were being evacuated and I figured it would be easier to leave before the masses hit the roads.

    As I left town, I could see the fires in the hills. The air quality is amazingly bad. Scott, you probably know what that's like. Everything smelled like a campfire for the past couple of days.

    I saw some fools on TV who refused to leave even though they could see fire and were told to leave. This guy actually thought he knew better than the firefighters. It's frustrating that these people are willing to put themselves as well as the firefighters (who will end up having to rescue them) in danger. I wouldn't be able to identify the bodies. Proof of Darwin's theory, except that the wrong person might end up dead.

    Jerry,

    You are probably correct. The majority of homes around here are asphalt comp. roofs. Not many shake or shingle roofs left in our area (they were really popular at one time), but there are a few residuals. We also have a lot of wood sided buildings (shingles, lap, plywood), so if the fire caught brush adjacent to the house, then the house would go up nicely. Even so, a few years ago, someone had built a "fireproof" house and it went like crazy. Stucco exterior, clay tile roof, no wood decks. Fire came up the hill and went into the eave vents. Now, WUI areas require fire-resistant vents and tempered glass in all windows.

    So, what if you covered the roof deck with 5/8" type X before the metal roof system? Would that make the roof (nearly) fireproof?

    Last edited by Gunnar Alquist; 10-11-2017 at 10:30 AM.
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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    We had to do it in 2000 and in 2011. The air quality can get really bad. I talked to a few people who stayed over, and they wished they had evacuated. It's not only the risk of being burned, but also the fact that you are probably not going to have electricity and the smoke gets very heavy for quite a while afterwards. Grab and go. Hope your place makes it.

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    I saw some fools on TV who refused to leave even though they could see fire and were told to leave. This guy actually thought he knew better than the firefighters. It's frustrating that these people are willing to put themselves as well as the firefighters (who will end up having to rescue them) in danger. I wouldn't be able to identify the bodies. Proof of Darwin's theory, except that the wrong person might end up dead.
    Or do as they do during the hurricanes - tell everyone that they need to evacuate NOW ... and that after the winds (in the case of hurricanes) reach a stated speed ... you are on your own, don't call for rescue as no rescue units will be going out until the winds die down enough to make it safe.

    I remember years ago, maybe it was Hurricane Dennis in 2005 as I recall, Sheriff's Deputies were telling people to evacuate, and those who refused were handed a black permanent marker and told to write their names and addresses on their chest, arms, and legs ... when asked why, the people were told 'So we will know which parts go together and who they belong to.' ... usually, that got the point across.

    So, what if you covered the roof deck with 5/8" type X before the metal roof system? Would that make the roof (nearly) fireproof?
    Type X may not withstand the water getting through, but I'm not sure about that - a better bet would be gypsum exterior sheathing, except that anchoring to or through it to the wood deck below could be an issue. Maybe plywood roof sheathing, a layer of gypsum exterior sheathing, then plywood roof sheathing again - fasten the top layer of roof sheathing through to the trusses/rafters and then the metal roof to that roof sheathing. The interlayer of gypsum would serve as thermal insulator and fire resistive layer to keep the actual roof structure from catching on fire in the even that the top roof sheathing layer did combust from the heat of the metal roof heating up so much.

    I've always like the idea of fire sprinklers for houses (roofs and surrounding yard areas) in forrested areas, to me, it seems like they should be required (after adequate testing to verify they work as intended, and to determine how much water / time the sprinklers need and how long to run to work.

    Like this: http://www.onestopfire.com/sprinklers.htm

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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    I like the black marker idea. Made me laugh. The problem here is that parts are generally still together, but charred and you can't read the marker any more. Ceramic dog tags? Dental records on your facebook page?

    Yes, Type X would not withstand water, but isn't the point of a roof to be waterproof? A metal roofing contractor that I know uses a peel & stick product (might be an ice-dam) under the metal roof as an underlayment. I don't know if it is specific to metal roof systems or if he does it because he believes it to be a better install. I was thinking the gypsum under that. In any case, the gypsum sheathing would certainly be a better product than the Type X.

    On that note, does anyone know where to download standing-seam roof instructions? All I can find are the corrugated roof installation instructions.

    The sprinkler would work if the water supply was gravity feed. Many places around here use bladder tanks and need power, which tends to fail during a fire. This would mean backup generator, gas-powered pump or batteries.

    Supply water could be provided by cistern collection from roofs, as long as the tank is big enough. That would be an interesting experiment.

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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post

    On that note, does anyone know where to download standing-seam roof instructions? All I can find are the corrugated roof installation instructions.
    .
    ABC Metal Roofing is our market leader here. I've never seen anyone put gypsum under the metal. The amount of material on top of the roof would have to be pretty significant to pass through to the framing. I think at that point you would also have it all around the house and you would be SOOL regardless of what type of roof. For flying embers a basic metal roof is usually adequate. The big problem a lot of people in the mountains have is a gutter packed full of dry pine needles.

    I've seen one set of outdoor house sprinklers, but it was powered by municipal water. Not a bad idea if you are building new. I think he had a manual valve to send water up to the eaves, and a drain down valve to empty it so it wasn't energized with water when not needed.


    http://www.abcmetalroofing.com/Residential/SL-16-/

    Jim Robinson
    New Mexico, USA

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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    There are "standing seam" roofs (the original type) where the standing seams are mechanically locked together after the panels are installed on the roof, and there are 'standing seam' roofs (the modern day 'value engineered version) where one panel 'snaps over and onto the previous panel' and where there is no true "seam", only 'locked' together "joints" (think of vinyl siding which 'locks' together and can be 'unzipped', these can be 'unzipped' so to speak).

    There are links to several styles of standing seam on this page:
    - http://www.mbci.com/products/roof/st...m-roof-panels/

    Here are some which are not mechanically seamed on the roof, they 'lock' into each other when one panel is installed after and locked over the previous panel:
    - http://www.abcmetalroofing.com/Residential/LokSeam-/

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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Yes, Type X would not withstand water, but isn't the point of a roof to be waterproof? A metal roofing contractor that I know uses a peel & stick product (might be an ice-dam) under the metal roof as an underlayment. I don't know if it is specific to metal roof systems or if he does it because he believes it to be a better install.
    Metal roofing panels are not considered "watertight" and require two two things: an underlayment, and a "slip sheet" (which allows the metal roofing to expand and contract, especially standing seam which has blind fasteners which allows the panels to "slip" during expansion and contraction.

    Metal roofing panels, such as 5-V crimp and others, which are mechanically attached to the roof with fasteners still expand and contract, but the fasteners restrict that expansion and contraction. These metal roofs typically have maximum panel lengths which are shorter than standing seam panel lengths due to the restriction on expansion (standing seam panel lengths are still limited because the ridge caps need to be able to account for the expansion while still providing minimum overlap during contraction of the panels.

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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    Gunnar,

    The news tonight shows it is still bad, possibly getting worse, but did not mention wind direction - however, the news did mention Santa Rosa again ... does it look like your place is still okay?

    Hope your place stays safe, as well as you guys staying safe.

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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    Thanks Jerry, both for the concern and the information/links.

    Yes, things are looking worse, at least as far as the news goes. Unfortunately, they keep showing the same things, some of which are from Monday. As of right now, the breeze is coming out of the northwest and away from my measly little home, so that much is good. The concern is that the winds are expected to increase and shift, but I don't know in what direction. My son is still in town and keeping me up to date as to what is going on. He seems to feel that the firefighters are holding their own. I keep suggesting that he leave, but not yet. I am still reasonably confident that my home is as safe as can be in a situation like this. We live by the Vet's building and the Fairgrounds. More concrete, less trees.

    Some estimates are that they might start getting fires under control by Monday.

    Once again, unbelievably (or not), agents want their inspections, so I will be in the area tomorrow and will be able to get a better idea as to what is going on at my place. But, I am planning on staying in S.F. until there is some containment.

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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    There is an article in JLC which may be helpful for the future of building in wildfire areas.

    "Surviving Wildfire


    Five Southern California "shelter in place" communities have proven they can stand up to raging wildfires. What can builders learn from their success?"

    Photo from the article: http://cdnassets.hw.net/dims4/GG/d3c...96-1136521.jpg

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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    We are all pulling for you gunner.
    Keep safe.

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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    Gunnar,

    Here is an interactive map of the area you can use to check on your place: http://kron4.com/2017/10/13/interact...neighborhoods/

    Every now and then an intact roof is visible where I scanned over, but by and large there are no homes left where I looked (but I don't know where your place is, so I have no idea).

    Hope all is still good with you guys.

    The reason I said about the roofs catching fire and not the vents, is that stores with flat roofs, which would not be vented, burned and left only walls, such as a K-Mart and other building which typically have flat roofs with no vents.

    I the first link you posted, there was a metal roofed gas pump area which was standing, but the adjacent store was not.

    I've been thinking about the roofing and a metal roof on battens/purlins with foam insulation under the metal roofing between the battens/purlins would probably also work to keep the heated metal roof from overheating the wood roof sheathing below the metal roofing.

    Someone needs to do some serious research on fire-resistant roof coverings and sprinklers for roofs and surrounding areas to determine which is best/most effective/most cost effective/etc resisting catching on fire from hot embers tossed (as would be wind blown) on them.

    Water would be a way to 'protect existing asphalt composition shingle roofs', while at the same time finding a replacement for those roofs as they are replaced to avoid the future need for using all that water, or maybe a compromise roof covering with increased fire resistance and some lesser water protection? Just throwing ideas out there for consideration.

    Larger flat roofs of TPO, EPDM, modified bitumen, etc, would likely need water protection as replacing those roof coverings with metal would likely mean structural changes as well.

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  18. #18
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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    Hi Jerry,

    Yes, the totally burned-out area (K-Mart, Coffee park) are in the northern portion of town, slightly west of Highway 101. We are farther south, near Highway 12, east of 101. If you use Google Earth, we are three blocks east of the Veteran's building.

    Thank you for the map. It is sobering.

    Last edited by Gunnar Alquist; 10-13-2017 at 10:17 PM.
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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    I don't know how updated they keep that map, but it shows that your area is okay.

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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    Good luck, Gunnar. You are wise to clear out when you did.

    Sprinklers will only work while there is water in the pipes. When the power grid goes down, so does the water pressure. People that stay behind will be helpless without water, and they may lose their escape route. It must be a frightening thing to be driving through an inferno and not knowing if it will get better or worse in that direction. Cell towers will be dead, nowhere to get gas or info.

    Cedar shingles in California have been treated with fire retardant. Doubt if that can stop a hot fire, tho. When the fires are finally out, there will be the recovery, and that unfortunately will drag on for years.So many livelihoods lost as well.

    Agents need to sell those homes before they burn, is that it?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    When the fires are finally out, there will be the recovery, and that unfortunately will drag on for years.So many livelihoods lost as well.
    John,

    That is about the only 'good' thing (if one can call anything 'good' after a disaster such as that) to come out of such natural disasters.

    After Hurricane Andrew in South Florida in 1992, the 'recovery' amounted to a 12-14 year 'construction boom'.

    After Puerto Rico recovers, I suspect that it will be better than it was before.

    I hope the same for Houston after that flooding.

    I've heard the news say that some areas from other California fires of a number of years ago, only about 20-25% of the houses in some subdivisions were rebuilt, leaving those neighborhoods with vacant lots (I suspect the vacant lot were left with slabs where the houses were, as all the other debris would have been removed during cleanup, I'm not sure that they would have broken up and removed the concrete slabs 'during cleanup' ... just making a presumption as I don't know what was done).

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  22. #22
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    Default Re: Fires. Bugging out

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Cedar shingles in California have been treated with fire retardant. Doubt if that can stop a hot fire, tho.
    Years ago, a few of us had the opportunity to do a rigorous, non-scientific test comparing treated and untreated shingles. We held one of each over a pair of matches. The treated shingle took something like 4-5 seconds longer to ignite than the untreated. I don't really have any confidence in this product, particularly when we are talking about tinder-dry cedar shingles.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    When the fires are finally out, there will be the recovery, and that unfortunately will drag on for years. So many livelihoods lost as well.
    There has already been talk about that. Many folks who eked out a living at the Hilton will be out of a job. Folks who managed to own a home, will have trouble finding a place to live now that so many buildings are gone. The permit process is excruciatingly difficult and expensive around here. I wonder if they will streamline it for replacement homes or if it will continue to be cumbersome. The other issue is getting qualified people to do the work. There are so many hacks and I suspect contractors will hire semi-skilled workmen to do shoddy work. I am very concerned.

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Agents need to sell those homes before they burn, is that it?
    That's my guess. One duplex that I inspected was, briefly, in the potential patch of fire and the agent wanted to make sure it got inspected. I called the agent to try and postpone, expressing my opinion that the place might not be there in a week. The buyer was wondering why we didn't just wait until some level of control was obtained.

    At least one home that I inspected a week or so ago burned-down. It would be a real bummer to close escrow and have your house burn down the next day.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    That is about the only 'good' thing (if one can call anything 'good' after a disaster such as that) to come out of such natural disasters. After Hurricane Andrew in South Florida in 1992, the 'recovery' amounted to a 12-14 year 'construction boom'.
    Yes, but in the meanwhile, house and rental prices will climb, making living here even less affordable, particularly for those with limited or lower incomes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    I've heard the news say that some areas from other California fires of a number of years ago, only about 20-25% of the houses in some subdivisions were rebuilt, leaving those neighborhoods with vacant lots (I suspect the vacant lot were left with slabs where the houses were, as all the other debris would have been removed during cleanup, I'm not sure that they would have broken up and removed the concrete slabs 'during cleanup' ... just making a presumption as I don't know what was done).
    That may have been the San Diego area. The fires, coupled with the housing crash resulted in tracks of vacant homes. New building has been very slow around here since the housing crash back several years ago. There is a significant shortage of homes for sale for several years around here. I seriously doubt that there will be many remaining vacant lots in a few years. This area has a history of being very desirable. Of course, much of that was because of all of the trees, many of which are now gone.

    The near future is going to be very interesting. If inspection business slows, I might just have to renew my contractor license and get into building.

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