Fire Safety in Malibu

April 2, 2019
When Malibu, Calif. resident and commercial design and construction manager Philip Vogt bought his home, he made sure to include "must-have" fire-safe features. Other Californians are doing the same.
Photo: Unsplash/Andre Benz

When Malibu, Calif. resident and commercial design and construction manager Philip Vogt bought his home, he made sure to add "must-have" fire-safe features. Other Californians are doing the same.

Last year's Woolsey and Camp Fires in Northern California destroyed roughly 20,000 homes and structures, totaling between $15 billion and $19 billion in damage, per CoreLogic data. Realtor.com reports that Vogt is one of many Californians living in wildfire-prone areas who are making their homes more resilient. Marti Witter, fire ecologist with the National Park Service near Vogt's property, says that fireproofing the home itself is the most important step a homeowner can take, “The home is the target—you do not want your house to catch on fire."

Mr. Vogt’s two-story home is in a rural section of Malibu, near where his wife works and where his two children go to school. Among other reasons he and his wife fell in love with the property was its seclusion and vantage point overlooking the Pacific. In his research before buying the property, Mr. Vogt learned that it was in one of the most fire-prone areas of Southern California—atop a ridge in mountains choked with flammable chaparral.

A native Californian, Mr. Vogt said he has long been interested in being less reliant on local utility companies and governmental agencies during an emergency. He said that is why he considered it a “must” to employ fireproof techniques. “I think friends and family thought I was more or less planning for the zombie apocalypse,” he said.

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