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Old Nov 6th 2017, 10:34 am   #16
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

Yeah we have a reasonable stream running through and there is quite a lot of water about that could be used for that purpose, but as you say its expensive.

It's still hard to imagine that if a fire like that completely burnt the whole land that drenchers on the roof could save you? But then again its not something I know anything about!
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Old Nov 6th 2017, 11:52 am   #17
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

We live in the most south easterly house in the village of Nodeirinho where 11 died in the village & 50+ more within 5km of it & our house was the first hit.

We saw it coming from 30m & baled out immediately & only escaped (with our cat & dog) by the skin of our teeth........ The heat was so intense it shattered all the outside panes of the windows on 3 sides of the house & welded my garage doors shut.......... BUT (note the big BUT) it was travelling at a helluva speed & had I had a drencher system that could trigger quickly enough I think it would possibly have made a difference......... but of course you need to get a hell of a lot of water moving very quickly for it to have any effect.
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Old Nov 6th 2017, 1:10 pm   #18
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

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Originally Posted by robodelfy View Post
.... It's still hard to imagine that if a fire like that completely burnt the whole land that drenchers on the roof could save you? But then again its not something I know anything about!
The benefit of the water is in the vast amount of energy that it takes to turn water into steam - a kettle might take 3 minutes to boil, but if you don't turn it off it will take maybe ten times longer to boil dry. So that is a huge amount of energy being absorbed by the water turning to steam, and quite a modest amount of water might be sufficient to save your home - though obviously more is better!

Exterior surfaces of metal or other non-combustible materials would also help.

About 20 years ago there was a wild fire that burned through a housing development in California. The owner of one home had been obsessive about making his home fire resistant - keeping trees and bushes away from his home, having gravel rather than grass near the house, using metal and cement products to face and roof his home. When the fire came it literally burned everyone home in the development to nothing but ashes, a photo og the hillside showed rows of bare foundations .... except for one home, which didn't look as if there had even been a fire; it was barely damaged at all!
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Old Nov 7th 2017, 2:40 am   #19
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

I just don't see how if a fire is raging through a whole area, forests and shrubs etc. And you are in the middle in a house, even if you can stop the house burning, surely the smoke would kill you. When I see the pictures of our land, its hard to imagine anyone surviving.

But you are right, precautions should be taken
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Old Nov 7th 2017, 3:15 am   #20
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

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We live in the most south easterly house in the village of Nodeirinho where 11 died in the village & 50+ more within 5km of it & our house was the first hit.

We saw it coming from 30m & baled out immediately & only escaped (with our cat & dog) by the skin of our teeth........ The heat was so intense it shattered all the outside panes of the windows on 3 sides of the house & welded my garage doors shut.......... BUT (note the big BUT) it was travelling at a helluva speed & had I had a drencher system that could trigger quickly enough I think it would possibly have made a difference......... but of course you need to get a hell of a lot of water moving very quickly for it to have any effect.
Dreadful experience .
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Old Nov 7th 2017, 8:30 am   #21
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

In the US, most houses are build from wood. They burn and add to the problem as the fire sweeps along.
Here in Portugal, houses are mostly masonry; sometimes even the roof beams are concrete.
So the fire sweeping over the house from the outside might be held off if you prepare for it. The weak points are the windows and doors, then the roof.
Clearing dead brush from around the house is obvious, but not always possible. Having trees around is a good thing the rest of the time...
There are things you can do, but what they are depends on your particular situation and resources.
The first is fire insurance.
Protecting property is one thing, protecting life is another. Once you have added whatever protection you can to a house, the decision to stay or flee will still be a life or death choice. Smoke can kill you even if the fire doesn't.
It's good that people are thinking about it more now, I hope it dosen't all get forgotten in the next few months.
Now, who's prepared for the next big earthquake?
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Old Nov 7th 2017, 9:52 am   #22
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

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In the US, most houses are build from wood. They burn and add to the problem as the fire sweeps along.
Here in Portugal, houses are mostly masonry; sometimes even the roof beams are concrete.
So the fire sweeping over the house from the outside might be held off if you prepare for it. The weak points are the windows and doors, then the roof.
Clearing dead brush from around the house is obvious, but not always possible. Having trees around is a good thing the rest of the time...
There are things you can do, but what they are depends on your particular situation and resources.
The first is fire insurance.
Protecting property is one thing, protecting life is another. Once you have added whatever protection you can to a house, the decision to stay or flee will still be a life or death choice. Smoke can kill you even if the fire doesn't.
It's good that people are thinking about it more now, I hope it dosen't all get forgotten in the next few months.
Now, who's prepared for the next big earthquake?
On which subject, I'm told the PT Govt is to set up a long term study of the people in my area to see what effect the smoke (which incidentally hung about for some weeks) will have on residents & what respiratory problems will develop further down the line.
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Old Nov 7th 2017, 1:19 pm   #23
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

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.... Now, who's prepared for the next big earthquake?
There have been a huge number of tremors down in La Palma in recent weeks. How about an eruption of Cumbre Vieja and a tsunami?
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Old Nov 7th 2017, 2:27 pm   #24
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

Our place is very safe from fires, with 50 meters of lawn all around.
Flood proof too, a 2% incline all the way to the edge of the 80 meter deep river valley.

But if we get a big earthquake, we're toast. I guess you can't have everything.
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Old Nov 7th 2017, 6:25 pm   #25
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

I was thinking about fireproofing a Portuguese house; I think the main thing you'd need is steel window shutters, and fire resistant exterior doors [or roll down shutters for the doors too].
"security shutters" are popular here, but offer no security. The roll down exterior sun shutters look nice, but will not hold back a candle flame.
Roll down steel shutters are standard items for shops, and should offer reasonable fire resistance.
The challenge would be to make such things not ugly.

The roof; Most have a water resistant membrane under the roof tiles, foam insulation, and wood. The roof tiles are ceramic, but flames might blast under the chinks and light the membrane.
If you wanted to use the suggested water drench system, the way to do it would be UNDER the tiles. Little water would be required, but getting it to spread evenly would be a challenge.

I think that for a new build in a forested area, the architect should simply design fire resistance in. A concrete roof [tiles above, insulation below] would be simple, robust, within the skill set of local builders, and not too expensive.
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Old Nov 7th 2017, 9:43 pm   #26
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

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Originally Posted by liveaboard View Post
I was thinking about fireproofing a Portuguese house; I think the main thing you'd need is steel window shutters, and fire resistant exterior doors [or roll down shutters for the doors too].
"security shutters" are popular here, but offer no security. The roll down exterior sun shutters look nice, but will not hold back a candle flame.
Roll down steel shutters are standard items for shops, and should offer reasonable fire resistance.
The challenge would be to make such things not ugly.

The roof; Most have a water resistant membrane under the roof tiles, foam insulation, and wood. The roof tiles are ceramic, but flames might blast under the chinks and light the membrane.
If you wanted to use the suggested water drench system, the way to do it would be UNDER the tiles. Little water would be required, but getting it to spread evenly would be a challenge.

I think that for a new build in a forested area, the architect should simply design fire resistance in. A concrete roof [tiles above, insulation below] would be simple, robust, within the skill set of local builders, and not too expensive.
I can only talk from my own personal experiences but 1st priority would be a clear & clean firebreak limit of at least 50m & preferably 100m followed by (CLOSED) fire resistant shutters then fire resistant insulation under the roof & BIG drenchers above (not under) the roof tiles.

Also clear & clean firebreaks on the escape route (not likely to happen) & a willingness to get out too early rather than too late.

And don't rely on anyone else saving your arse........ You've got to be completely independent & make your own decisions........ & a shit load of good luck!

Last edited by mfesharne; Nov 7th 2017 at 9:51 pm.
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 3:44 am   #27
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

Thanks for the replies. Yeah its scary to think of those situations.

I dont see any way we can get 50m clear everywhere around this property, and defintely not the mountainous road up there.

Even we managed to protect the houses from the fire, unless they were somehow completely smoke proof like the safe room someone mentioned, I dont think we'd survive!

Lots to think about
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 6:46 am   #28
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

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Originally Posted by liveaboard View Post
Our place is very safe from fires, with 50 meters of lawn all around.
Flood proof too, a 2% incline all the way to the edge of the 80 meter deep river valley.

But if we get a big earthquake, we're toast. I guess you can't have everything.
On which subject: As if the fires where not enough here comes fracking in Pombal and Batalha. Are you ready for it?
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 6:56 am   #29
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

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Thanks for the replies. Yeah its scary to think of those situations.

I dont see any way we can get 50m clear everywhere around this property, and defintely not the mountainous road up there.

Even we managed to protect the houses from the fire, unless they were somehow completely smoke proof like the safe room someone mentioned, I dont think we'd survive!

Lots to think about
There are several other issues to consider as well.

The fire was consuming so much oxygen we could barely breathe during the first 10 minutes of our escape & the heat so intense it melted the aluminium engines of cars & 5 inch steel RSJs bent like bananas....... Some people who died had to be identified by DNA because there was so little of them left.
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Old Nov 8th 2017, 7:31 am   #30
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Default Re: How long does land take to recover from fire damage?

Thats horrendous. I'm sorry you had to go through such an ordeal, must have been very scary.

Thanks for all the input though, its definitely helped us to think about safety and how to proceed
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