Fires are raging in California. The fire has been consuming the forests and other areas of this American state for several weeks. After one of the houses on Lake Tahoe survived the attack of the element – supposedly thanks to the installation of aluminum covers – more residents decide to try to protect their homes in this way. Particularly valuable trees in the Sequoia National Park are also wrapped in fireproof foil blankets.
When forests burned down on Lake Tahoe on Saturday, on the border between California and Nevada, many houses were destroyed. As reported by the Associated Press agency, those whose roofs were covered with aluminum shields survived without much damage. “It’s quite expensive (…) but I’m glad we did,” said Martin Dilky, a Californian, who covered his home’s roof with flexible aluminum sheets for $ 700,000.
Aluminum, fire-resistant foils are to protect houses from damage
Is this an effective method? According to AP sources, the aluminum wrapper reflects heat from buildings, thus protecting flammable materials. It is also supposed to prevent heat from getting through, among other things, vents and to withstand temperatures up to 550 degrees Celsius.
However, experts are cautious in their judgments. According to a 2019 study published by the journal Frontiers in Mechanical Eingeneering, aluminum fire retardant films “show remarkable efficiency, but also have technical limitations.” The article indicates that they are most effective when exposed to fire for less than 10 minutes. They are also less effective in densely built-up areas, where fires can go on for hours.
Specialists from the lifehacker.com advisory service point out one more thing that needs to be remembered: the time factor. The process of covering a house with foil “requires thousands of staples and is not an ideal solution when the fire is already approaching the property,” they warn. They also remind us of the high prices of such films, which can be considered effective. Therefore – they advise – it is worth considering their purchase by those who live in areas that are really often affected by fires.
Fireproof covers are expensive
Due to the high prices, the covers are mainly used by the US Forest Service and national park services. They have been using them for several years. One of the companies that produces aluminum wraps revealed that orders from foresters account for 95 percent of all orders – their product secured up to 700 buildings, bridges, communication towers and other structures in the state forests.
Such covers saved from burning the historic Angora Ridge Lookout observation tower located on Lake Tahoe.
Sequoia National Park. Forest fires
This week, American firefighters secured the bases of giant sequoia trees growing in Sequoia National Park with fireproof wraps, including the world’s largest General Sherman tree.
Main photo source: Hearst Newspapers / Getty Images