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Potential fire response
#1
I live about two miles from one of the major fires and will explain a simple DIY.

First, the acknowledgments:
1.  you have no control over the neighbors and their palm trees, poorly maintained roofing systems, accumulated junk in the yards.
2.  you have no control over the water pressure coming to your home.

I had a commercial company replace the roofing system with fire resistant tiles.  Of course, you can do that yourself.  I timed my next neighbor who did it all himself (and should have worked on replacing termite ridden headers and broken spliters, but didn't).  It took him one whole year to do his roof by himself.  This was in addition to the garage roof which was another 6 month project.

What I did was design a roof line fire suppression system working off city water pressure.  Originally, and this was years ago, an alarm company assured me that it could rig up an on-off system operated by telephone.  When push came to shove, it wasn't able to perform.  So, there is a simple, hand operated on-off switch for the garage roof and a separate hand operated on-off switch for the house roofline.

The concept was to run an inverted metal sprinkler system a couple of feet along the ridge line.  Wouldn't be obvious from ground level unless one was looking for it.  Had the handyman install as I have an aversion to going on roofs.

I showed my neighbors how to operate if I were not at home.

Now I explain how these fires blossom and expand, many times without actual flames hitting a house.

If the winds are hot enough, they will blow out windows and set fires.  So, you want a sheeting of water along side the house.  The sheet of water absorbs the heat before it hits the house, hopefully.

When you hear about burning embers flying through the air, they will go under the eaves of a house.  So by having a sheet of water, you stand a better chance of dealing with the flying embers.  Think about it logically.  The house stops the embers.  It is less likely that in a fire windstorm that an ember will drop out of the sky and simply sit on a roof.

Today, the electronics are better.  If my girlfriend can go on her cell phone and check and change the thermostat in her home, someone can use a cell phone to turn on and off a roofline fire suppression set up.
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#2
Living in the Midwest, it is hard to imagine what a fire like that is like. Yes, I have seen the pictures and watch the videos, but until you see it first hand, I don't think you can grasp the total power of such destruction.

We have field fires when it gets dry, but our fires are nothing like your fires. Generally, we are just to wet to sustain a large fire like that.
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