Assessing home ignition potential in the wildland/urban interface

Blog Post created by mikehazell Employee on Oct 28, 2011


Jack Cohen details SIAM and how it was developed. 


Dr. Steve Quarles spoke to the testing of the SIAM science and principals at IBHS

Jack Cohen, Research Physical Scientist with the USDA Forest Service and Dr. Steve Quarles, Senior Scientist with the Insurance Institute Business & Home Safety (IBHS) led a featured presentation this morning at NFPA’s “Backyards & Beyond” conference on ‘Assessing Home Ignition Potential in the Wildland/Urban Interface.’

Jack started the discussion detailing the Structure Ignition Assessment Model (SIAM). This systematic and objective tool can be used to assess home ignition potential in the WUI based on flame and firebrands within the home ignition zone in conjunction with the home’s design, materials and potential debris. The idea that home destruction largely results from ember ignitions and low intensity fires that spread across surface fuels in a community came from many experiments and real case studies combined.

Steve then detailed the IBHS building in Richburg, SC where a simulation was created to test ember exposure and radiant panels on a house made from various types of materials, including different roofs, types of siding, landscape, gutters, etc. They took the results and analyzed the ignition potential of each.

The SIAM program is also being used in the new user-friendly web tool allowing homeowners to assess the potential for their specific home, which the audience heard about yesterday