Some homes being rebuilt in Paradise, CA will be very wildfire resistant

Based on the quonset hut design used extensively by the US military in World War II

quonset hut style home
A quonset hut style home, via CBS News.

A few of the 13,861 homes destroyed in the Camp Fire are being rebuilt using a particular design that is much more fire resistant than a typical structure. In 2018 the northern California fire burned most of the houses in Paradise after a failure on a Pacific Gas and Electric powerline ignited the blaze that raced through the town, doing much of its damage in just a few hours.

During World War II the US military purchased and installed thousands of quonset huts, a lightweight prefabricated structure of corrugated galvanized steel with a semi-cylindrical cross-section.

quonset hut style structure
Design for a quonset hut style structure, via CBS News.

The steel itself is non-combustible of course, and if the rest of the exterior building materials are also, the structure should be very resistant to ignition during a wildfire. But it is important that everything within the home ignition zone is consistent with Firewise principles.

Firewise defensible space structure

CBS News Sunday Morning produced the video story below of how this quonset hut concept is being used in Paradise.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Gerald.

BTU Complex: 50 homes burn in Concow

At least 50 homes burned Tuesday in the city of Concow, California as the BTU (or Butte) Lightning Complex swept through communities 20 miles east of Chico. The entire east half of the city of Paradise, a city of 26,000, is under evacuation orders, and some areas of Magalia have also been evacuated.

If the weather forecast is accurate, Paradise and Magalia are under a severe threat from the fire. Firefighters hope to stop the fire at the West Branch of the Feather River just east of the city.

This is the third time in the last few weeks that Paradise has had a bulls eye painted on it by fires heading in their direction.

HERE is a link to a very interesting map of the fire in the area made by the newspaper in Chico, the Chico Enterprise Record. This is an amazing use of Google Maps. You might call it groundbreaking. There is a ton of information there—I hope the data is accurate. Click on the icons on the map to get details.

Record high temperatures as high as 115 in the valley on Tuesday contributed to the extreme fire behavior. Foothill temperatures were expected to be in the 90s on Tuesday.

The Weather forecast for Paradisc, CA: (note that the maximum relative humidities at night only go up to 30% and 26%)

Tuesday night: Areas of smoke. Clear, with a low around 79. Northeast wind between 10 and 15 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph. RH 30%.

Wednesday: Areas of smoke. Sunny and hot, with a high near 110. North northwest wind between 5 and 10 mph. RH 10%.

Wednesday Night: Areas of smoke. Clear, with a low around 77. North wind between 7 and 13 mph. RH 26%

Thursday: Areas of smoke. Sunny and hot, with a high near 108. Northeast wind 6 to 8 mph becoming west. RH 11%.