California Fires....

mtntrainman Oct 29, 2019

  1. Maletrain

    Maletrain TrainBoard Member

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    I don't think a simple spray on a roof is going to save a home from this type of fire. Non-flammable roofs are not that uncommon, particularly tile roofs, but the houses with those are not immune to brush fires. Now, if you are talking about an old adobe building with walls a foot or more thick and a tile roof, then spraying wooden frames for doors and windows might do some good. Thick metal shutters with internal insulation would probably do much more good, though. And, if there is enough heat transferred through the roof tiles to ignite the wooden rafters, all is lost, anyway. So, maybe that old adobe house needs asbestos subroofing and steel rafters? Remember, the house surrounded by fire becomes a very hot oven for everything inside it. If it is not insulated well enough against that, the interior can catch fire even if the shell does not.

    There was a piece on the news earlier this week showing how a guy saved his house by rigging sprinklers on the roof that ran off his garden hoses. That should work quite well, so long as there is an uninterruptable supply of water. But, if he has a well and needs electricity, then he needs some sort of off-grid supply of electricity. And, he needs to protect that electrical source (generator and its fuel or whatever) from the fire, too. On the other hand, if everybody with city water did that, then the city water supply might be depleted, or at least lose the pressure needed to get water to the roof with enough force to spray it, at the very time that it was most needed and everybody turned on their sprinklers.
     
  2. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    One version of the product was developed specifically for cedar shingled houses. And several other versions exist for all sorts of products. The reason that is not in widespread use is people particularly the builders are cheap and it isn't mandated. One version as soon as the heat is gone it self extinguishes and will not burn unless you keep flame to it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
  3. Curn

    Curn TrainBoard Member

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    I live is a lucky spot of Sonoma county that didn’t lose electricity or get evacuated. But I planned in advanced and got some battery operated controllers so I could still run trains without power just in case.

    I noticed in the 2017 fires, a disproportionate amount of houses that survived were stucco with tile roofs. With the winds blowing embers, a common ignition point for a house is the garage as the garage doors usually have some large gaps. And many people keep the garage kind of messy with things that can burn.

    Matt
     
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  4. tehachapifan

    tehachapifan TrainBoard Member

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    Little void spaces and pockets, such as where eaves from multiple roof pitches come together, are also sometimes good for letting embers and debris swirl in the wind and become blow torches. Even simple inside corners can be an issue. Leaves and debris in gutters is, of course, an issue as well. Then there's decks and woodpiles and such. Hard to defend against high winds and extreme ember production.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
  5. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    Well having survived the fires in AZ by making an extra large fire break around the edge of the ranch. I am glad that the fires or the blackouts are not affecting me, and I do not see any sort of issues here.
     
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  6. Maletrain

    Maletrain TrainBoard Member

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    If that spray-on fire retardant is an available product, isn't it being advetised? If so, I would be surprised if nobody in California has decided to just pay for it themselves and put it on their roofs. So, if there are some treated roofs in the fire areas, there should be some data on how well they were actually protected during the fires. Real world data would be a lot more convincing than a demonstration to Congress. Is there such data?
     
  7. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    The demo was over 20 years ago and the retardants are advertised on the web and at least one is carried by Home Depot.

    https://flameseal.com/products/wildfire/fx-wf-structure-protection/
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2019
  8. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    What about using metal roofing ??

    Fire resistance. Because metal roof materials are noncombustible, they typically have a Class A fire rating (the most fire-resistant rating). Just be aware that part of a roof’s overall classification depends on materials beneath the surface that could ignite in intense heat, too.
     
  9. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

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    California USED to do things to prevent fires: clean brush, cut fire breaks, cut down dead trees, even have controlled burns to reduce the amount of fuel. Then the tree huggers came and said that doing any of that was BAD and it all stopped. That nature took care of the forests for thousands of years before man started taking over the job. Well the truth is that nature took care of it by having fire storms that burned all of the fuel in massive fires and then things were okay for another 50 years until it all grew back and the process repeated itself. That was over 30 years ago and now nature is back to taking care of it without man's help...by having fire storms.

    Tesla battery (as I was told) is more of a novelty than a solution. It will only provide a couple of hours of light (as in not heavy) use before they run out of juice. Can't run well pump, freezers or heaters from them as they just don't provide the amp hours. Someone smarter than me will have to try and explain why I can't run things in my house off of solar during the day instead of only being able to feed that power back into the grid and no grid = no power for me.
     
  10. DCESharkman

    DCESharkman TrainBoard Member

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    One benefit of what we did, was to make the break wide enough so the fire would not jump it. We did setup some web cameras so we could see if the fire break was working, and low and behold we were able to see hundreds of forest animals use the break as a way to escape the fire. It never did jump the break.
     
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  11. JMaurer1

    JMaurer1 TrainBoard Member

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    Fire retardants are not fire preventives...they are just something that makes it harder to catch fire...for a little while. In the case for metal roofs, the metal roof may survive, it's everything else that burns. We have a concrete shingle roof. Concrete won't burn, but if you surround something with enough heat, then it is everything else that spontaneously combusts. Heat paper to 456 F and it will burst into fire. Fire storms have temperatures of up to 1800 F. Roof will still be there, just everything under it will be gone...
     
  12. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    Prior to the metal roofs installation you simply treat the substructure with a fire retardant.

    Windows would get metal shutters because that would be the weak point. But all this adds dollars the folks do not want to spend and building codes do not mandate it on new construction or rebuilt and additions.
     
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  13. Maletrain

    Maletrain TrainBoard Member

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    The link provided for the fire retardant spray says the following:

    "FX-WF™ is a single component, non-permanent, ready to use, fire protective coating. It is designed for application to structures in the immediate path of a wild fire. It can be applied up to several days, depending upon conditions before the arrival of a fire. On exposure to fire, FX-WF™ produces thick intumescent foam, which acts as a heat and fire barrier, protecting the underlying structure. The coating “swells up” nearly 100 times in thickness when the heat of a fire approaches, therefore protecting and insulating the structure from the fire. By using FX-WF™ you are greatly increasing the chances the structure will survive."

    So, this does not seem to be something that builders can do years in advance, or that building codes should require for new construction. It seems to be something that a homeowner could stock for personal use when fires are in the vicinity, along with the equipment to apply it quickly. But, it is not even a solution for a commercial company to apply it, considering how many buildings suddenly become "in harms way" and the short time that this product's effectiveness lasts. No commercial outfit could do nothing with it for most of the year and then suddenly apply it to very many thousands of structures during fire season.

    But, the question remains, how has this stuff actually performed where it was applied to buildings that were then overrun by these fires. If it is sold by Lowes, Home Depot, etc., then I would think that somebody would have used it. Are there glowing testimonials? Are there disgruntled bad reviews? I tried searching for it on Home Depot, Lowes, and Amazon websites to see if there were any reviews, but those searches had zero results in all 3 cases.

    So, while I agree that there are lots of things that can be done with building codes and early preparations in fire-prone areas, this stuff does not seem to be one of them.
     
  14. John Moore

    John Moore TrainBoard Supporter

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    There are other products out there that are put on at the time of building for everything from wood and wood products to paper and cloth this is just one of many products that have been developed over the last 20 years. Building codes require the materials used in the home or commercial interior as decorative materials meet a flame spread rating, the most restrictive to structures that are not sprinkled. Even steel in building construction is now required to have a fire retardant coating that is applied after erecting. However there has yet to be a code adopted nationally that requires flame retardant exteriors. The products are out there but until code requires it you won't see it. After this series of fires over the last few years there probably be a push driven by the insurance companies and the fire and building services to get this into code. And just because this gets into national code the states still have to adopt it. The code formulation and adoptions generally occur every four years.
     
  15. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    Jeff, I'm not trying to claim I'm smarter than you. :D Soalr doesn't typically have enough current to run anything directly. But they do produce energy and by feeding the energy back to the grid, it get's captured. Think of the the grid as being one big rechargeable battery and the solar on your roof is the battery charger. This is similar in concept to why you can power a device with a fully charged set of rechargeable batteries but you can't run that same device with the battery charger.

    Another analogy is you can't move a giant water wheel with the amount of water coming out of a garden hose. But if you use that same garden house and fill up a large bucket (may take hours), you can use the water in the bucket to move that giant water wheel.
     
  16. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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  17. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    That inverter can only do 215W. Specifically 240V around 1A. So if you can further step it down to 120V, you'll get around 2A. Maybe a few light bulbs? :D
     
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  18. mtntrainman

    mtntrainman TrainBoard Supporter

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    The only thing I know about electricity is...if you stick your finger in a light soket and turn the light switch on....you are gonna get knocked on your A$$....
    :ROFLMAO::eek::whistle::censored:
     
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  19. MK

    MK TrainBoard Member

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    :D:):ROFLMAO::notworthy::LOL:
     
  20. Maletrain

    Maletrain TrainBoard Member

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    There are parts of the correct answer, here. Of course, it is possible to run "homes" with solar cells. NASA is doing that on the International Space Station as I type this. And, there are probably some regular houses that are powered "off the grid" completely, too. But, if you look at how much power your solar cells can produce in full sunlight, and look at the peak power you draw for your house at some time during the day, you will find that most home solar cells won't meet the peak energy demand. Worse, that peak demand usually does not occur when the sun is shining its brightest in the daily cycle. So, if you want to run your home totally on solar without any connection to the grid, you need to store the electrical power produced by your solar cells in batteries so that it is available when you need it. And, that takes lots of solar cells and lots of batteries for an average house. It is pretty expensive to buy and install that much generation and storage capacity. When you decide to get an electric car, which you will probably need to recharge during the night (unless you work the night shift), you may double the amount of solar cells and batteries that you need. (One not so fun fact about electric cars is that, at least for now, when they are charged over-night from the electric grid, you are typically getting power produced by CO2 emitting fuels, or maybe partly by nuclear power - so some electric cars may really just be running on coal instead of gasoline, in many parts of the country.)

    Getting back to the concern about fires in California, I would think that solar cells would have serious problems in a brush fire. They don't work well when overheated. So, you would need a lot of battery power to make sure that your sprinklers or whatever powered anti-combustion mechanism you are using would not suddenly lose power. And, those batteries would need to be well protected. Especially if they are the lithium ion type, which will catch fire or even explode when overheated. Not what you want during a fire.
     

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