Most structures that burn in a wildfire are not ignited by direct flame impingement, but by burning embers that are lofted and carried downwind ahead of the fire. At Wildfire Today we first covered the role of embers in igniting structures in 2010, a concept brought into the public consciousness by Jack Cohen, a researcher at the Missoula Fire Science Lab. To reduce the chances of a home burning in a wildfire, the most bang for the buck is to concentrate on the Home Ignition Zone. The flammable material near the structure needs to be modified, reduced, or eliminated to the point where multiple burning embers landing in the zone will not propagate the fire and spread to the structure.
The video below produced by the New Jersey Forest Fire Service elaborates on this concept. It is queued up to 1:42 where the issue is addressed.
More information is in our articles tagged “Home Ignition Zone.”