In these days of changing weather, dry summers, more extreme storms, forest fires, owning a cottage can be a worry and can also result in very expensive insurance costs.
As our camp is located in a spot surrounded by forest, some of it fairly old softwood, sometimes tinder dry it’s a concern for me, ways to add a fire suppression system cross my mind.
In the past few years, thanks to some hurricanes, there have been a lot of older fir and spruce trees that have blown down in the woods behind the camp. Those “blow-downs” have become excellent tinder and fuel for a forest fire.
There are some things you can do to help protect your home or cottage from forest fires, or as they are called now, “wild fires”. Make sure you keep dead brush and dry grass away from the camp. Be extra careful with campfires. Don’t have large trees growing too close to the building, or allow limbs to hang your roof.
Those fire avoidance suggestions are all good and well, but in truth, let’s face it, your place is in the woods, and those trees and forest are part of the reason you are there. You’re not exactly desirous of cutting them all down and paving it like a parking lot. You need some kind of fire suppression system, something to help protect your camp during a forest fire or wild fire.
How Can You Do Cottage Wildfire Protection?
So how can you protect your cottage from wild fires, not from a forest fire starting, but after it starts, how can you protect your cottage?
Install A Sprinkler On The Roof
Well one way which is gaining popularity is to install a fire sprinkler system. A sprinkler can distribute water to keep things wet and discourage, if not put out fires.
Specifically a “roof sprinkler system” which is exactly what it sounds like, a water sprinkler designed to soak down your cottage roof and surrounding area in the event of fire.
Roof Sprinkler System
A roof sprinkler system is not actually designed to put out a wildfire, instead the sprinkler is used to soak down an area before a fire, including your cottage roof, reducing the chance of your camp and the surrounding area catching fire from flying embers and nearby fires.
A sprinkler provides fire protection by releasing moisture into the air, lowering the ambient temerature and increasing the humidity level in the immediate area. Roof sprinkler systems create a humid “microclimate” that is not condusive to fire. The moisture in the air goes up, and using such a sprinkler has been known to deflect an advancing wildfire.
In the event of an approaching fire, you activate your sprinkler system, the sooner the better, and allow the sprinkler to soak down the cottage and put moisture in the surrounding air. As I said, the longer your sprinkler runs prior to the fire reaching you, the better.
Make Your Own Sprinkler System
Cottagers, being an independent resourceful individuals, are do-it-yourselfers. You could create your own wild fire suppression system using a little imagination and creativity. Some garden hose, a water sprinkler or two, some connecting tees, and mounting hardware is about all you would need depending on the extent of your system.
You also need to consider what will run the pumps that provide the water to the sprinkler. In the ideal situation you would have a gas generator with a long run time available to power the water pump. If not, your sprinkler system will only work as long as the power is turned on.
In most wildfire situations, unless it starts right beside your cottage, you have some warning that the fire is coming your way long before it reaches you. That gives you time to turn your system on and wet down the cottage and surrounding area.
However, all of the above pre-supposes you or someone else are at your cottage in time to turn the system on. Otherwise it is not much good to you.
Remember, during a fire there is a possibilty that your power will be eventually lost, so starting your sprinkler system as soon as possible is important.
If you are interested in learning more about these systems I recommend you visit this website, One Stop Fire Products and read up on their Roof Top Sprinkler System.
You should also read The Homeowners Fire Safe Manual from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources for further information and it has an excellent assessment you can use to improve your cottage’s chance of surviving a wildfire.
In addition, the Wisconsin Department Of Natural Resources have a useful brochure about wildfire protection that discusses the use of sprinkler systems, you can read it here: Protect Your Home From Wildfire
And finally, it is important to remember Smokey’s message, “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires” Be fire smart around the cottage at all times.