Stories of Building Santa Cruz

Roof Fire Protection Recommendations by Noe from Moriarty's Roofing

Roof Fire Protection Recommendations by Noe from Moriarty's Roofing

Monday, March 18, 2024

As spring arrives in Santa Cruz, it's time to focus on safeguarding your home against wildfires. Moriarty's Roofing, a trusted member of the Santa Cruz Construction Guild for over 10 years, shares expert advice on preparing your home for wildfire season. With recent years bringing increased wildfire activity to our county, these tips are more important than ever for Santa Cruz homeowners. The original article can be found HERE 


In the last few years, our county has witnessed wildfires that have caused damage and loss of homes. The Cal fire website is a wonderful resource in ensuring that your home is protected the best it can be. Below is an excerpt from Cal Fire:

Roof: The roof is the most vulnerable part of your home. Homes with wood or shingle roofs are at high risk of being destroyed during a wildfire.

  • Build your roof or re-roof with materials such as composition, metal, clay or tile. Block any spaces between roof decking and covering to prevent embers from catching. 
  • Remove accumulated vegetative debris from the roof.

Vents: Vents on homes create openings for flying embers.

  • Cover all vent openings with 1/16-inch to 1/8-inch metal mesh. Do not use fiberglass or plastic mesh because they can melt and burn.
  • Use Ember and flame resistant vents (WUI vents).

Eaves and Soffits: Eaves should be boxed in (soffited-eave design) and protected with ignition-resistant* or non-combustible materials.

Rain Gutters: Keep rain gutters clear or enclose rain gutters to prevent accumulation of plant debris.

  • Install a corrosion-resistant and noncombustible metal drip edge for additional protection of the combustible components on your roof’s edge.
  • Use a noncombustible gutter cover to prevent buildup of debris and vegetation in the gutter.

Defensible Space Zones

Zone 1 – Lean, Clean and Green Zone

Zone 1 extends 30 feet from buildings, structures, decks, etc. or to your property line, whichever is closer.

  • Remove all dead plants, grass and weeds (vegetation).
  • Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters.
  • Remove branches that hang over your roof and keep dead branches 10 feet away from your chimney.
  • Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.
  • Relocate wood piles to Zone 2.
  • Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows.
  • Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks, balconies and stairs.
  • Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc.

Zone 2 – Reduce Fuel Zone

Zone 2 extends from 30 feet to 100 feet out from buildings, structures, decks, etc. or to your property line, whichever is closer.

  • Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches.
  • Create horizontal space between shrubs and trees. 
  • Create vertical space between grass, shrubs and trees. 
  • Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, and small branches. However, they may be permitted to a depth of 3 inches.
  • All exposed wood piles must have a minimum of 10 feet of clearance, down to bare mineral soil, in all directions.

Here's some links that may be helpful:

Hardening your Home (Cal Fire Website)
Defensible Space and Hardening your Home (PDF)
Cal Fire's Ready, Set, Go (YouTube video)

Kind regards from the Moriarty Roofing Family.

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