Forests and homes in the United States have been increasingly ravaged by wildfires, causing record-breaking damage. This summer, the largest wildfire in California history destroyed more than 1,000 homes. In 2017, the state experienced a staggering $10 billion in wildfire-related damages.
And wildfires certainly aren’t isolated to California: They have been rampant across much of the western U. S. and as far east as Texas. According to insurance research firm Verisk, as many as 4.5 million homes in the U. S. are at high or extreme risk of wildfire.
As wildfires become more widespread, there’s growing urgency for builders and homeowners to take proactive steps like using safer products to better protect homes and everything that matters inside.
A home’s exterior is its first line of defense against extreme weather and fire. FEMA stresses that fire-resistant siding is critical to avoiding wildfire-related home damage. Among its many benefits, James Hardie® fiber cement siding and trim are non-combustible, to help protect homes from unpredictable weather — and worst-case scenarios like wildfires.
James Hardie fiber cement is made from premium raw materials and proprietary additives, which include cement, water, cellulose fiber and silica –a common mineral found in beach sand, stone and concrete. It is also used in household products like polishes and cleansers.
Silica is naturally fire resistant and is essential to James Hardie fiber cement’s durability and stability to moisture. Silica may sound familiar –it has been in the news lately due to an OSHA rule change impacting contractors and installers. The new OSHA rule requires workers to take steps to reduce airborne silica dust while cutting or grinding silica containing products. However, the products themselves pose no safety issues for home owners and in fact can help protect your home.