Wade Wilson digs for possessions after fire destroyed his home near Fort McMurray in the western province of Alberta.

Wade Wilson digs for possessions after fire destroyed his home near Fort McMurray in the western province of Alberta.
Photo Credit: Jason Franson/Canadian Press

Fort Mac fire chief wants building code changes


The man in charge of the battle against the massive wildfire in Fort McMurray wants changes to the way houses are built to avoid future devastation, reports Canadian Press. The fire that engulfed this western Canadian city gutted thousands of homes and forced people to evacuate the area for a month.

Fort McMurray is surrounded by dense boreal forest which naturally, periodically catches fire and then regenerates. Fire Chief Darby Allen says houses should be built further away from the forest and must be made out of materials less likely to catch fire.

Thousands of homes were destroyed when wildfires ripped through fort McMurray.
Thousands of homes were destroyed when wildfires ripped through fort McMurray. © Codie McLachlan/Canadian Press

Mayor to change cedar roofing

It can be difficult to change municipal building codes in Canada, says Allen, but after the fire residents may support such changes.

The mayor of the town says people don’t have to wait for official rules to change. They may choose to adopt their own new ways of building. Mayor Melissa Blake herself plans to change the roof of her home which is currently made of cedar wood.

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One comment on “Fort Mac fire chief wants building code changes
  1. Avatar M. Stiller says:

    Non-combustible steel roofing and siding is the way to go, especially in areas that are known to be prone to seasonal/periodic wild fires. I had one installed earlier this year and absolutely love it. A key fact is steel roofing is not susceptible to fires that are caused by flying embers from adjacent homes, or in the case of Fort McMurray, from the forest fires themselves. Steel roofing also stands up to strong wind and hail events.

    While upfront raw material/installation costs are known to be about twice as much for steel roofing than asphalt roofing, the lifecycle costs of a steel roof are far less due to the fact that these roofs last >50 years. And a steel roof holds it value well and contributes to higher prices during resale. Warranties in Canada are typically transferable. Aesthetically, steel roofing systems have come a long way since the days of the standing seem roof, with very attractive stamped shingle/shake/tile profiles available. And let’s not forget that all steel roofing is fully recyclable and will never end up in landfill, unlike asphalt. It can also be installed right over your older shingles, as long as there’s no sign of failure of the wood roof deck. It’s a good choice.