The special features that appeared to have provided the most protection in the recent wildfires were noncombustible (or Class A) roofs and noncombustible exterior wall surfaces, such as masonry veneers and portland cement stucco which easily, aesthetically, and economically satisfy the provision of the International Urban-Wildfire Interface Code. Other mitigation strategies such as protecting roof eaves, decks, and unenclosed underfloor areas with noncombustible materials were also important.

Another feature that was critical to protecting dwellings from the firestorms was the more prevalent use of defensible spaces around individual dwellings or subdivisions. Defensible space is defined in the Code as “an area – either natural or man-made – where materials capable of allowing a fire to spread unchecked have been treated, cleared, or modified to slow the rate and intensity of an advancing wildfire and to create an area for fire suppression.”