Firewood Requirements - June 1 through September 30th
Fire resistive tarps or covers are required if 30 feet or more of clearance from the structure cannot be obtained. The tarps must prevent embers from getting in or around the wood pile and be properly secured. Fire resistant tarps must display the California State Fire Marshal seal permanently attached to the tarp material. As an alternative, up to three sides of the wood pile may have 1/ 16-inch metal screen with at least a 1-inch space from the firewood. The screen shall be firmly attached to the deck rail or other approved structure, and the screen and the tarp shall completely cover and surround the wood pile. A wood box that completely surrounds the wood is also an acceptable means of compliance.
Fire Resistive Tarps
Fire retardant tarps aren’t invincible, but they protect you against a lot more than just actual fire. We’ll break down their construction, materials, and talk about the tarps you have now and whether or not they’re also fire retardant.
As protection against static electricity, UV rays, and shielding your items/structures from the elements, there’s a lot to them. It’s time to teach you everything you need to know about flame retardant tarps.
No, not by a long shot. Specific materials and chemical treatments on those materials are what make a tarp fire resistant. Cotton canvas, polyester canvas, and mesh tarps would go up like a hay bale – they do not make good fire-retardant tarps. Polyethylene is always going to be the king material when it comes to fire retardant tarps.
Instead of going up in flames and catching fire, polyethylene basically melts if it gets too hot. It doesn’t catch fire and make it spread; it must have a constant supply of intense heat for it to melt. You would have to hold a torch to it for an extended period to get it to melt, which isn’t likely to happen even on your worst days.
Embers are as hot as the fire from which they originate, and are light enough to be carried by the wind for long distances. They are also the primary reason that homes and properties ignite when there is a wildfire nearby.
It depends on the tarp, but yes, some of them can be flammable. Just to clarify what this means, they can catch fire; they’re not more prone to lighting on fire than a piece of paper, they’re just able to host fire which will continue to consume it.
This isn’t every tarp, though. Cotton canvas, mesh, polyester canvas, and a few other materials can catch fire, while polyethylene remains the best option for flame retardant chemical bonding, and natural flame resistance.
The main material in flame retardant tarps, this commonplace plastic is designed to work in hardcore packaging that creates a barrier between the item in the package, and the outside world, such as food containers. In larger applications, such as tarps, it’s naturally flame resistant.
This is the most common chemical used in flame retardants across every industry, including electronics and furniture, and you will see it used on tarps from time to time.
This stands for polybrominated diphenyl ethers, which is a mouthful to say the least. This is common in spray-type chemicals that can be applied to tarps after the fact. They’re dangerous to work with, and can come off with time, which is why they aren’t used as often
For more information on defensible space and where to buy fire resistive tarps, please visit our website at:
Wildland Urban Interface: https://mlfd.ca.gov/wildland-urban-interface/
Fire Resistive Tarps: https://mlfd.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Woodpile-and-Tarp-Information.pdf