A recent story about the fires in southern California documented one fire in Camarillo Springs that "moved through the...area without destroying a single home." While the opening paragraph credits "an army of firefighters" stationed in the area to protect homes, a closer read reveals that planning and preparation are credited with saving the day.
According to the Associated Press story picked up by Colorado's 9news.com, "The good fortune of the Camarillo Springs area wasn't the result of luck or clairvoyance by firefighters. It came after years of planning and knowing that sooner or later just such a conflagration was going to strike."
The area developed some 30 years ago with fire in mind. The story says that homes were built with fire-resistant materials, roads accommodate emergency vehicles, and residents are required to clear brush and other combustible materials near dwellings.
According to the AP interview with Neal Blaney, a board member of The Springs Homeowners Association and a 15-year resident, "All of our rooftops are concrete tile and all of the exteriors are stucco. There's no wood, so there's almost no place for a flying ember to land and ignite something." In addition, Blaney told reporters that volunteer emergency officers in the neighborhood gave the first alert to residents. As a result, when the flames got close, residents were ready to get out of the way of firefighters.
There was no mention of national programs like "Ready, Set, Go!" or Firewise principles called out by name. But no matter what you call them, applying these principles and practices can work to save homes and lives from wildfire.
Photo from Firewise Photo Gallery taken in California is not representative of Camarillo Springs but is a general illustration of some principles (fire-resistant roof and siding) that help homes resist ignition from wildfire.