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chatted about the importance of proper entirely with a closed-cell foam insulation such as Heikki Ketola, are considering landscaping in fire-affected areas. Here are that can prevent a fire from entering a constructing prefabricated homes that a few tips from the professionals. structure. are pre-wired with electrical systems and “We can rebuild Malibu so that struc“Use gypsum drywall such as Densglass™ plumbing and employ the latest fire-resistures are more fire-resistant,” Burdge said. and install one-hour fire drywall on each tant materials. “There are several vendors “We must do so in a wiser way by building side of a two-by four in one’s frame in addi- who offer prefabricated homes, including homes using technology smartly, and cre- tion to an exterior wall, as well as installing and,” Keating defensible spaces around structures doors and windows that expand when heat tola said. “My understanding is that getting that have water features and proper land- is sensed.” Harris said. a pre-fabricated home often is better than scaping.” Malibu contractor John Johannessen building traditionally because they are facHarris is amazed that although commer- recommends using an exterior wildfire tory-made and they may be of higher qualcial buildings are built to withstand fires, defense system such as waveGUARD™ on ity because they are not constructed onmany times, residences site in conditions that can are not built be fire-reinclude wind and rain.” silient. “We all work in a Other pre-fabricated comfire-resistant commerpanies to explore include cial building, but sleep, plantin homes that are fully and methodcombustible,” He said. “As people rebuild, they need All the professionals to use the same materials Malibu Magazine talked used in commercial strucwith recommend ensuring tures and they need to enthere is defensible space sure there is absolutely no around structures and that wood on the outside of a all debris is cleared. building.” Ron Boyd, owner of SunHarris and Burdge recflower Organic Garden ommend building a home Services, suggests using so fire cannot enter. “Venmore grass and avoiding tilation systems, attics using wood chips. and underflow vents all Malibuite, Linda Gibbs BUILDING A FIRE RESISTANT HOME Homeowners, Ed and Rachlet fire in so build an airof the Malibu Agriculturelle Begley with Scott Harris on the site of their steel framed home. tight house,” Harris said. al Society emphasizes that “Choose specially-treated, fire-retardant roofs because such systems are unobtru- people must understand small water cycles closed-cell intumescent insulation, dry- sive, have self-contained water systems and and must garden employing permaculture wall panels that resist mold, mildew, mois- can be connected to a generator. and biodynamic techniques that build soil. ture and fire, and dual-insulated laminat“Such a system detects oncoming fire “I am convinced that the reason that ed glass - everything used in re-building, and sprays the roof with a mixture of water our recording studio did not burn to the from steel studs to two-by-fours to dou- and fire retardant,” Johannessen says. The ground is because of my gardening,” She ble-paned windows to exterior siding must system waters the roof for three minutes, said. “There is a rhizosphere around root be at least two-hour-fired rated. Such a rat- shuts down for twenty, and goes through systems that functions much like our large ing means occupants have two hours to exit such cycles ten times and there are various intestine and we should not disrupt it – I a structure before fire intrudes.” systems that can pump up to 44 gallons on recommend planting bioaccumulators and “Build methods of egress for every room, a roof per minute.” Harris agrees. “Create a perennials and densely planting - soil has such as putting in balconies off bedrooms.” micro-weather system that is full of humid- the capacity to hold three times its weight Harris recommended. “Everything matters ity and envelops a property to protect it as a in water, but only if it is full of organic matwhen you’re building to prevent fire from firestorm approaches,” He said. “We literal- ter.” intruding, even down to studs.” He recom- ly have the technology to have a homeownMalibuites are resilient and can rebuild. mends building one wall on the outside er sit on his couch and watch a fire go by, If they rebuild smarter, they will be more of a home with a two-by-six steel frame, just as one watches a snowstorm.” likely to avoid suffering the devastating MM encased by a two-inch air gap that is filled Some Malibuites who need to rebuild, effects of fires.


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Profile for Malibu Magazine

January/February 2019  

January/February 2019