UC Davis researchers seek to prevent wildfires with mud – CBS Sacramento
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Millions of Californians live in areas at high risk for wildfires, but now there are new down-to-earth ideas at UC Davis that could help keep homes from burning.
Every year, hundreds of California homes are destroyed by forest fires. UC Davis researchers are looking for ways to help reduce the risk.
READ MORE: Heat and drought could bring more harmful algae to Sacramento waterways
“We are trying to make fireproof homes,” said Michele Barbato, engineering professor at UC Davis.
Mechanical engineers designed these mud blocks – which could replace traditional timber and stucco houses that cannot withstand the intense heat of a forest fire. In the lab, the mud blocks were tested under extreme conditions – baked in an oven for seven hours at over 2,000 degrees.
“And as you can see, the brick is still there, it’s not burning,” Narnato said during a protest.
A side-by-side test shows that the wood ignites easily under a blowtorch, while the blocks constructed of earth show no visible damage.
“They can survive forest fires,” Barbato said.
READ MORE: Finish my pool! Jackson Grandma pays $ 10,000 for hole in ground, contractor under investigation
The goal is to keep costs down by designing interlocking blocks made of earth that will not require mortar and machinery that can travel to the house building site to press the blocks into it using locally sourced earth.
“You have something that is durable, affordable, and secure if you design it right,” Barbato said.
It’s an idea that intrigues the residential construction industry.
“We applaud people who are looking for new methods and new materials,” said Mike Stretch, CEO of the Northstate Building Industry Association. “We are interested, always interested in building a safe house. “
But they say the way you plan a house is just as important.
“The best way to prevent a fire from impacting a home is to make sure the vegetation the yard chooses for landscaping is designed in a way that keeps flames away from the home,” Stretch said. .
NO MORE NEWS: MPs investigate second fatal shooting by suspected intruder in Stanislaus County this week
Unearthing new ideas made from mud is groundbreaking research that could one day help reduce the threat of wildfires. Researchers say the mud blocks are also resistant to tornadoes and hurricanes.