Our general perception that a fire comes rolling down a hillside and takes out a neighborhood, like a tsunami or a lava flow, just doesn’t fit the physics of the problem. What I’ve found is that during these big crown fires, the flames pass by quickly, so the radiant heat doesn’t linger in one place very long. That makes them incapable of igniting a structure beyond 100 feet. If we look at all the destruction during wildfires, the principle igniters directly on the house and the immediate surroundings are firebrands, which means that the wildfire may be half a mile away, and we still have neighborhoods burning down. The most recent one with high destruction was the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs, where 300-plus houses burned. Most of them were in suburban neighborhoods, not surrounded by trees. And nothing else was burning other than the houses. And that’s really common. Which means if we don’t take home ignition into account, we’re not going to solve anything.
Read the whole thing, especially if you live in the “Wildland Urban Interface.”