Experts create wildfire conditions to learn how to save your home

CHESTER COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - With hundreds of homes destroyed each year by wildfires, scientists and firefighters are looking for ways that could help protect against future disasters.

During a demonstration in Richburg, South Carolina, scientists destroyed a mock house in an effort to figure out what type of materials are better suited to withstand fire conditions. Using embers, scientists monitored the most vulnerable points of a house from top to bottom.

"There's no rhyme or reason to exactly where it ignites, but we can be sure its going to ignite with firebrands under the right conditions," said Jack Cohen, a scientist with the United States Forestry Service.

The damage could prove useful to researchers that could then translate into knowledge for consumers on what they can do to protect their home.

"With many homes there are many many problems, from the flammability of the materials, a lot of it is the way the materials are connected, they leave little gaps, embers could get stuck in there," explained Will May, who was on hand representing the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

During the Horry County wildfire in 2009, dozens of homes were both destroyed and damaged as a result of the flames. The data from Thursday's exercise will also be examined by insurance companies in an effort to pinpoint ways to protect customers.

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