Narrator: This is Science Today. After devastating wildfires last year, all new construction in California is required to have increased fire safety measures. But there's a lot current homeowners can do to improve the safety of their homes. During a recent fire demonstration, Stephen Quarles, a University of California Cooperative Extension wood durability advisor, explained that there's a general perception that composite materials are much more fire safe than solid wood.
Quarles: That can be true, but it's not always true and in this case. The wood/plastic composite material burned much more readily than the solid wood deck. After less than an hour, it became a pretty big fire on the deck.
Narrator: Quarles identifies six priority areas for making changes to existing homes: a non-combustible ‘Class A' roof; vents, such as crawl spaces or attics; getting rid of vegetation that's too close to the home, under eaves or near windows; making sure windows are dual pane with tempered glass; and installing thick deck boards and siding with good quality sheathing to protect the home's studs. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.