What Impact Do Fires Have On Commercial Roofs?

Unfortunately we have been seeing a lot of wildfires around California, Nevada and other Western States. This not only poses a threat to public health and safety, but also to residential and commercial properties. So now the question comes to mind, what impact do fires actually have on our communities? What impact do they have on our commercial work spaces, apartments, properties we manage, buildings we own? Above all, literally, what threat do wildfires pose on our commercial roofs?

Most wildfire damage to commercial roofs is caused by EMBERS. Embers are such an issue that up to 90% of structural damage is caused by them, or by other fires. How did the other fires start? Embers! With over 1.6 million acres burned, and more than 7,000 incidents according to Cal Fire, here are some important questions to consider:

  • How does your roof system look currently?
  • Have embers damaged your roof membrane?
  • Have embers damaged your exterior building envelope?

In addition, we’ve provided the following key points to consider below. 

What Are Fire Embers?

An ember is a small, glowing piece of superheated coal, wood or other material created by a fire. They are lightweight which allows them to be carried miles away from the fire which they originated from. When embers land around dry grass, leaves, or any sort of flammable debris, another fire can be ignited. This, then leads to more damage from the newly started fire.

Why Are Commercial Roofs Vulnerable to Fire Embers?

With the majority of commercial roofs being large, flat, rectangular surfaces, a roof is one of the most vulnerable components on a building. Roofs are vulnerable because they catch most everything that fall from the sky above them.  The job of the roof is to protect a building from the sun, rain, and during fires, from embers. With the amount of fires that have been occurring around us, it is likely that many buildings have caught embers and ash. If embers have landed on a roof, this could mean any debris on the roof may have ignited causing the roof material to melt or puncture. If ash build-up remains on a roof system, this could lead to a clogged drain or blocked water path, causing water to pond on the roof. Both of these issues can lead to future damage and leaks. 

How Far Away Can a Fire’s Potential Damage Reach?

According to the Rural Fire Service, extreme or catastrophic fires which can be uncontrollable, typically have thousands of embers blown anywhere from 3 to 6 miles further than the actual fire. Our team is recommending that if your commercial buildings are within 5 miles of a fire zone, to inspect your roofs for damage or excess debris build-up such as ash. 

Get Ahead of Potential Emergency Leaks.

The worst time to find out about a roof leak is during the rainy season. Get ahead of potential emergency leaks prior to them becoming an issue before the upcoming wet weather season. If you are unable to inspect your own facility and would like assistance, click here or call (916)253-1911 TODAY! Kodiak will inspect your roof and provide detailed information on your roofs condition, not only to prevent leaks, but to keep tenants and inventory dry, and save money in the long run.

Kodiak is Here For You!

Our team cares about you, your clients, and your commercial assets. If you are located within 5 miles of a fire zone, are aware of damage, or excess debris on your roofs, please reach out to our team here. Our professional service technicians will further inspect your roofs for any unforeseen damage before cleaning can occur. We recommend avoiding immediate clean-up as that can lead to more damage if there are unforeseen issues on the roof. More importantly, we hope everyone is able to stay safe during these wildfires, receiving any help you may need.

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