Reducing Fire Risks: Tips and Best Practices for Fire Hardening Your Home

Posted on: March 8, 2024

Reducing Fire Risks: Tips and Best Practices for Fire Hardening Your Home

Wildfires are an increasing threat to homes and properties, especially in vulnerable regions. Protecting your home from this devastating force of nature is a wise investment and a crucial safety measure.

With fire hardening and home hardening techniques, you can significantly reduce the risk of your home catching fire during a wildfire.

Below, we will guide you through the process of hardening your home, creating a fire-resistant landscape, and complying with standard practices to ensure maximum protection.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand and assess the wildfire risk for your home
  • Implement fire prevention measures such as creating defensible space zones, using fire-resistant building materials, protecting vulnerable features & ensuring emergency vehicle access
  • Comply with local building codes to ensure adequate protection from wildfires

Understanding Fire Hardening and Home Hardening

Fire hardening your home is a process designed to reduce ignition risk and make a home more resistant to radiant heat and direct flame contact from wildfires. It serves a critical role in defending homes against wildfires and adheres to the National Fire Protection Association guidelines.

The steps involved in hardening a home include:

  1. Assessing the wildfire risk
  2. Creating a fire-resistant landscape
  3. Selecting fire-resistant building materials
  4. Protecting vulnerable home features
  5. Ensuring accessibility for emergency vehicles
  6. Planning for water supply and firefighting equipment
  7. Complying with relevant building codes and standards

Homeowners looking to get started can use resources like the Fire Adapted Communities Learning Network, the Fire Adapted Communities Self-Assessment Tool (FAC SAT), and FAC Net. These offer guidance on correctly storing and handling combustible and flammable liquids.

Assessing Wildfire Risk for Your Home or Business

fire hardened lodge - tips to reduce fire risk - montana timber products

Assessing your home or business’ wildfire risk begins with examining the Immediate Zone, which extends 0-5 feet from your residence.

In this zone, flammable materials should be minimized to reduce the risk of ignition. To increase your home’s wildfire resistance in the Immediate Zone, use ignition-resistant siding, roofs, decks, attic vents, eaves, and windows, and remove flammable vegetation.

In the Intermediate Zone, careful landscaping can be employed to reduce the continuity of fuels and impede the spread of fire. For example, removing branches that overhang the structure is a critical step to help ensure your home doesn’t catch fire.

In the Extended Zone, trees and vegetation should be spaced and pruned to reduce the size of flames, keep them closer to the ground, and interrupt the fire’s path. For safety reasons, combustible materials should not be stored on or under decks in the Immediate Zone, as flying embers can easily ignite them during a wildfire.

Creating a Fire-Resistant Landscape

creating fire resistance landscape - tips to reduce fire risk - montana timber products
Photo via Colorado State Forest Service

Reducing wildfire risk involves:

  • Establishing defensible space zones around your home
  • Creating fuel breaks
  • Maintaining trees to minimize the chances of your home catching fire during a wildfire.

The following sections provide a detailed exploration of defensible space zones, fuel breaks, and tree maintenance.

Defensible Space Zones

Defensible space zones are areas surrounding a dwelling and its surrounding property cleared of combustible materials and vegetation to create a separation between the home and potential fuel sources. According to the Colorado State Forest Service, there are three home ignition zones:

  1. Zone 1: which extends up to 5 feet from the home
  2. Zone 2: which extends from the outer edge of Zone 1 to 30 feet from the home
  3. Zone 3: aims to decrease the concentration of combustible vegetation and create an environment that restricts the advancement of fire.

The objective of interrupting the fire’s progression in Zone 2 is to contain the flames and ensure they remain on the ground. To achieve this, the following measures should be taken:

  • Clear vegetation from beneath propane tanks
  • Maintain a low density of fuels around the residence to provide additional time in the event of a fire
  • The recommended spacing between trees and bushes in Zone 2 is at least 10 feet.

Fuel Breaks

Fuel breaks are strategically placed barriers that slow or stop the spread of wildfires. They are integral to wildfire prevention, as they regulate forest fuels and reduce fire intensity. Various fuel breaks exist, including:

  • Shaded fuel breaks
  • Brown strips
  • Mowed fuel breaks
  • Targeted grazed fuel breaks
  • Mechanical treatments
  • Manual treatments
  • Chemical treatments
  • Biological treatments
  • Prescribed fire treatments

To create adequate fuel breaks, homeowners should:

  • Prioritize assets and valued resources
  • Treat or graze vegetative fuel breaks to manage excess litter and invasive plants
  • Focus fuels reduction efforts in the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) zone
  • Consider factors such as suppression, weather, and fire behavior
  • Establish shaded fuel breaks

A fuel break for residential properties typically ranges from 2 to 15 feet in width, depending on the type of forest, fuel loading, and the recommendations of a wildland fire fuels specialist or Area Forester.

Tree Maintenance

Regular tree maintenance in wildfire-prone areas can help prevent the spread of fire. Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Prune and remove dead branches to reduce the risk of fire hazards.
  2. Maintain proper spacing between trees to help mitigate the risk.
  3. Remove debris and excess yard waste to prevent fire from spreading. Late winter, from mid-February through early March, is the ideal time for pruning trees for wildfire prevention. Trees are still dormant, allowing maximum growth and the chance to identify and address potential problem areas.

When it comes to pruning trees in Zone 1, the focus is on preventing the spread of fire through foliage or vegetation. Removing low-hanging branches, shrubs, and other vegetation is a way to reduce the risk of a wildfire reaching the tree canopy. This is an essential step in preemptively protecting trees from wildfires. Regular tree maintenance not only keeps your property safe but also contributes to the overall health of your trees.

Selecting Fire-Resistant Building Materials

fire hardened hotel - fire resistant building materials - montana timber products

Selecting fire-resistant building materials is pivotal in fire-resistant construction, shielding your home from wildfires. Materials such as:

  • Metal
  • Concrete
  • Clay tiles
  • Fiber cement siding
  • Fire Treated Wood Siding
  • Tempered glass
  • Dual-pane windows
  • Solid-core doors

Taking measures to interrupt a fire’s path can significantly reduce the risk of your home catching fire during a wildfire.

The following sections delve deeper into fire-resistant roofing materials, siding options, and window and door choices.

Roofing Materials

fire hardened home - wood siding with metal roofing - montana timber products

The choice of fire-resistant roofing materials is critical to diminishing the likelihood of your home catching fire during a wildfire. Some fire-resistant roofing materials include:

  • Composition
  • Metal
  • Clay
  • Tile

To ensure the protection of your home’s roof, it is advisable to regularly remove any combustible debris, such as dry leaves, moss, and trash, from the roof.

The fire-resistance ratings for different roofing materials are classified as follows:

  • Class A: provides the highest level of fire resistance
  • Class B: provides moderate fire resistance
  • Class C: provides minimal fire resistance
  • Unrated: does not have a specified fire-resistance rating

When selecting roofing materials, it is essential to consider local building codes and regulations. In addition, make sure to enclose eaves with fire-resistant materials to reduce the fire risk.

Siding Options

fire hardened home in california - fireline pressure treated fire treatment - montana timber products

Choosing fire-resistant siding options can significantly shield your home’s exterior from wildfires. Fiber cement, stucco, and pre-treated wood are all fire-resistant siding options.

When selecting siding materials, connecting the siding from the foundation to the roof is essential to prevent the passage of flames and embers.

Pre-treating wood to make it fire-resistant involves applying a fire-retardant treatment to the wood surface or impregnating it into the wood.

At Montana Timber Products, we offer both options.

Material that gets our Fireline Pressure-Treated treatment goes through a certified pressure-treatment process and exceeds the most stringent fire suppression standards, such as building in areas designated by the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) code.

For those areas where fire can still be a threat (but they aren’t considered Wildland Urban Interface zones), our FlameShield Topical is an excellent fire treatment option.

FlameShield Topical is an invisible, Class A-Rated fire retardant that reduces flame spread and smoke development. Our specialized non-toxic formula is UL Greenguard Gold Certified with low VOC content and emissions. Once properly coated, dried, and cured into the wood substrate in our facility, it is permanent and never needs to be reapplied.

If you want to learn more about our fire treatment options for natural wood products, check out our website’s Fire Treatment for Wood page.

Protecting Vulnerable Home Features

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Minimizing wildfire damage requires a focus on safeguarding vulnerable home features such as vents, rain gutters, and garages. In the following sections, we will discuss the importance of protecting ventilation and attic vents, rain gutters, roof debris, garages, and storage sheds.

Ventilation and Attic Vents

Installing metal mesh screens on ventilation and attic vents is essential for preventing embers from entering your home during a wildfire. For fire resistance, 1/8-inch or 1/16-inch wire mesh is recommended for metal mesh screens on ventilation and attic vents. Fiberglass or plastic mesh should be avoided as they can melt and burn.

To ensure proper installation of metal mesh screens on ventilation and attic vents, follow these steps:

  1. Select a metal mesh screen with a maximum opening size of 1/8 inch.
  2. Securely attach the metal mesh screen to the vents, including under-eave and soffit vents and exterior attic vents.
  3. Consider using baffles in addition to the metal mesh screen for vents in eaves or cornices.
  4. Ensure the metal mesh screen is firmly attached to the vents for maximum protection.

Rain Gutters and Roof Debris

Regularly cleaning rain gutters and removing roof debris is essential for reducing the risk of fire spreading to your home. It is advisable to clean gutters bi-annually, in the spring and autumn, to reduce the risk of fire effectively.

Some practical ways to remove combustible debris from rain gutters include:

  • Utilizing a wet/dry vacuum with applicable accessories
  • Manually clearing the gutters and flushing them with water
  • Using a leaf blower
  • Washing away small particles and dirt with a garden hose or pressure washer
  • Performing regular gutter cleaning and upkeep.

Garage and Storage Sheds

Hardening your garage and storage sheds protects your property from wildfires. To do so, install weather stripping around garage doors, store flammable objects at a safe distance from the door, and cover windows and vents with metal mesh. Metal sheds and steel buildings are generally regarded as the most fire-resistant materials in garages and storage sheds.

To reduce fire risk, follow these guidelines:

  • Store flammable objects at least 10 feet away from the garage or shed.
  • Cover windows and vents in garages and sheds with 1/16-inch or 1/8-inch wire mesh.
  • Avoid using fiberglass or plastic mesh, as they may melt and burn.

Ensuring Accessibility for Emergency Vehicles

fireline pressure treated fire treatment - ranchwood yellowstone siding - montana timber products

It’s vital to your property’s safety and that of firefighters to ensure your driveway and access roads are wide enough and free from obstructions, allowing emergency vehicles to reach your home during a wildfire. The recommended width for driveways to ensure accessibility for emergency vehicles during wildfires is 28 feet, with a minimum vertical clearance of 14 feet. Having a visible address number is also beneficial to firefighters in locating your residence quickly.

To ensure clear passage for emergency vehicles, the following actions should be taken:

  • Regular mowing and trimming of trees and bushes
  • Removal of overgrown branches and vegetation that obstruct visibility
  • Trimming back tree limbs and vegetation from sidewalks
  • Removal of trees or plants near fire hydrants
  • Creating spacing between shrubs and trees

Planning for Water Supply and Firefighting Equipment

Proactive planning is vital to safeguard your home in the event of a wildfire. Here are some steps you can take to be prepared:

  1. Ensure you have an accessible water supply. This can include installing a water storage tank or connecting to a nearby water source.
  2. Invest in firefighting equipment. Non-collapsible fabric fire hoses or hoses designed explicitly for firefighting purposes are the most suitable options for firefighting scenarios at home.
  3. Consider acquiring equipment such as electric pumps, portable tanks, and wildland firefighting equipment like engines, water tenders, dozers, and caterers.

By taking these steps, you can increase your readiness and protect your home from a wildfire.

It is also essential for homeowners to have emergency kits with items like:

  • water
  • food
  • flashlights
  • batteries
  • first-aid supplies
  • prescription drugs
  • clothing

Consult with local fire departments or fire safety experts to determine the amount of water needed to extinguish a fire in your specific building during the pre-planning stage.

Complying with Building Codes and Standards

Adherence to local building codes and standards is crucial in optimizing your home’s fire resistance. The relevant building codes and standards for fire resistance include the NFPA Codes and Standards, the International Building Code (IBC), and Fire Prevention and Safety Codes. These codes and standards are in place to ensure people’s safety and the public’s welfare by regulating design, construction practices, and the quality of construction materials.

Building codes and standards for fire resistance can vary regionally, considering factors such as climate, local building materials, and historical fire incidents.

Therefore, it is essential to refer to the specific building codes and standards of the region where the construction occurs to guarantee compliance with local fire resistance regulations.


In conclusion, fireproofing and implementing home hardening techniques are essential to protecting your property from the devastating effects of wildfires.

By assessing your home’s wildfire risk, creating a fire-resistant landscape, selecting fire-resistant building materials, protecting vulnerable home features, ensuring accessibility for emergency vehicles, planning for water supply and firefighting equipment, and complying with building codes and standards, you can significantly reduce the risk of your home catching fire during a wildfire.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you completely fireproof a house?

It is not possible to completely fireproof a house, but by using fire-resistant or fire-retardant building materials, you can reduce the danger of fire threatening your property.

What is the difference between fireproof and fire-resistant?

Fireproofing and fire resistance are not the same, as fireproofing involves protecting the material from combusting, while fire resistance entails protecting the material from the effects of fire, such as heat and smoke. Knowing the difference is crucial for safeguarding homes or businesses from fires.

What are the key steps involved in fire hardening a home?

Critical steps for fire hardening involve assessing the wildfire risk, creating a fire-resistant landscape, selecting fire-resistant building materials, protecting vulnerable home features, ensuring accessibility for emergency vehicles, planning for water supply and firefighting equipment, and complying with relevant building codes and standards.


Posted on: October 27, 2023


Crafting a Dream Home That’s Wildfire-Ready in Sierra Nevada



Project Type
Private Residence


Siding: 1×6″ | Shiplap w/ 1/4″ Reveal
Trim: 2×10 | Square Edge
Soffit: 1×6″ | Tongue & Groove


AquaFir™ | Tobacco | Smooth | CVG Cedar

**All materials protected with Fireline™ Pressure-Treated.**


Nestled in the idyllic Sierra Nevada Mountains of California, a homeowner dreamed of a special mountain retreat. Their vision was not just about creating a striking contemporary design, but also about ensuring that it could weather the challenges posed by the area’s recurring wildfires.


To bring their dream to life while addressing the wildfire concern, the homeowner took practical steps to safeguard their sanctuary.

First, they established a safe buffer zone between the house and the surrounding forest, a measure that added a layer of protection.

The next crucial step involved choosing Fireline™ Pressure-Treated wood for all their natural wood materials, making their home compliant with Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) standards. This simple decision enhanced the natural wood’s ability to withstand potential threats.

Now, the homeowner could cherish the beauty of natural wood while feeling secure in the knowledge that their retreat was equipped to stand strong in the face of nature’s unpredictable challenges. This home became a testament to both aesthetics and practicality, offering peace of mind amidst its cozy ambiance.



Project Gallery


Posted on: July 28, 2023


Utilizing Fireline Pressure-Treated Western Red Cedar for Enhanced Safety



Project Type
Private Residence


1×4 | Shiplap w/ ¼” Reveal | Wire Brushed
1×6 | Shiplap w/ ¼” Reveal | Wire Brushed

Soffit: 1×6 | Tongue and Groove | Wire Brushed


ranchwood™ | Yellowstone | Western Red Cedar (STK)
Fireline Pressure-Treated


A modern and elegant mountain design which embraces the natural beauty of the surroundings while prioritizing measures to safeguard against the ever-present wildfire risk. To achieve this vision the owner purposefully sought out specific building materials on the exterior facade to beautify and protect the structure.


For this exceptional project, the owner chose Western Red Cedar, expertly finished in ranchwood™ Yellowstone, which added a visually stunning touch adjoining the natural stone facade. The selected natural wood material is fire-treated with Montana Timber Products proprietary Fireline™ Pressure-Treated. The residence stands as a testament to a perfect balance of elegance and protection.

Fireline™ Pressure-Treated Excellence:
The Fireline™ Pressure-Treated wood fire treatment not only met the homeowner’s aesthetic preferences but also provided a key advantage in wildfire-prone regions. The treated wood is compliant with WUI (Wildland Urban Interface) and I-WUI (International Wildland Urban Interface) standards, offering peace of mind and increased protection against potential wildfires.



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Navigating the Wildland Urban Interface: Strategies for Protecting Your Home and Community

Posted on: June 1, 2023

Navigating the Wildland Urban Interface: Strategies for Protecting Your Home and Community

Wildfires have become all too common in recent years, wreaking havoc on communities and the environment. As a result, we need effective wildfire management now more than ever, especially in areas where human development intersects with wildland vegetation. So, how can we safeguard our communities from the constant wildfire threat? The answer lies in understanding the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) and implementing strategies to reduce fire risks in these areas.

In this article, we’ll explore the concept of the WUI, discuss the factors contributing to its growth, and delve into strategies for minimizing fire risks in these vulnerable regions. We’ll also share inspiring case studies showcasing successful WUI fire management efforts, highlighting the power of community collaboration and innovative technology solutions in mitigating wildfire threats.


  • Understanding the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) is crucial for protecting communities from wildfire risks.
  • Strategies for reducing fire risk in WUI areas include Community Wildfire Protection Plans, fire-adapted communities, and building and landscaping guidelines.
  • Successful WUI management necessitates community collaboration and the utilization of innovative technology solutions like alerting systems, drones, robots, and satellites.

Understanding the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI)

wildland urban interface - wui community areas - montana timber products

The Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) is a critical area where human development and wildland vegetation coexist, creating a higher risk of devastating wildfires. With population growth and climate change exacerbating wildfire risks, comprehending the WUI and implementing protective strategies are paramount to safeguarding communities and the environment.

To achieve this, we must grasp the dynamics of the WUI, including the landscape’s physical characteristics, vegetation types, human activities, and potential climate change impacts.

Defining the WUI

The WUI refers to areas where residential development is near trees or dense vegetation, which pose a higher risk of wildfires. Experts primarily assess vegetation cover and housing proximity to determine the WUI threshold.

Recognizing and acknowledging wildfire risk assessment in WUI areas is the first step toward addressing the risks and implementing effective management strategies.

Factors Contributing to WUI Growth

WUI expansion primarily stems from housing growth, with vegetation increases playing a secondary role. Other contributing factors include rising housing costs, climate change, reduced land management practices, and relaxed housing regulations.

For instance, according to PNAS, from 1990 to 2010, areas classified as wildland-urban interfaces in the United States saw significant growth in the number of new houses (41% increase) and the land area (33% increase). As WUI areas continue to expand, it becomes crucial to tackle the challenges associated with this growth to mitigate fire risks.

Mapping and Assessing WUI Areas

Mapping and assessing WUI areas are vital for understanding wildfire risks and developing strategies to minimize them. High-resolution maps, created using remote sensing data, enable a detailed analysis of vegetation density, cover, and housing proximity to dense vegetation.

Accurate mapping and assessment empower communities and policymakers to comprehend and effectively address the unique challenges of WUI areas.

Strategies for Reducing Fire Risks in WUI Areas

strategies to reduce fire risk - wildland urban interface - montana timber products

Several strategies can be employed to reduce fire risks in WUI areas, including creating Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs), fostering fire-adapted communities, utilizing fire suppression techniques, and implementing building and landscaping guidelines.

These approaches enhance community resilience against wildfires and minimize potential losses.

Community Wildfire Protection Plans

A Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is a document that outlines strategies to mitigate wildfire risk in a specific area. It includes information on the local environment, fire history, and potential fire hazards. The primary objective of a CWPP is to assist communities in becoming fire-adapted and reducing fire risks.

Training is crucial in developing a successful CWPP as it equips community members with the knowledge and tools to address wildfire risks effectively. CWPPs promote collaboration and shared responsibility for wildfire prevention and response by actively involving the community in the planning process.

Fire-Adapted Communities

A fire-adapted community recognizes the higher risk of wildfires and takes proactive steps to mitigate those risks, thereby reducing the likelihood of loss. Fire-adapted communities are better prepared to respond to and recover from wildfires.

To create a fire-adapted community, measures such as developing a CWPP, adhering to building and landscaping guidelines that prioritize fire resistance, and fostering community collaboration on wildfire safety are crucial. Successful examples of fire-adapted communities, such as the City of Flagstaff in Arizona and the City of Santa Rosa in California, demonstrate the positive impact of community-driven initiatives.

Building and Landscaping Guidelines

wildland urban interface - fire area building guidelines - montana timber products
Project Located in Truckee, CA that used our Fireline wood fire treatment.

Implementing building and landscaping guidelines tailored to the specific needs of WUI areas is essential for reducing the risk of wildfires. These guidelines may include using construction methods that minimize the risk of building ignition, creating defensible spaces by clearing vegetation, maintaining adequate distances between structures and flammable materials, and selecting fire-resistant plant species.

Choosing plants based on their fire resistance, climate suitability, irrigation needs and utilizing noncombustible materials for landscaping and mulch further reduces fire risks.

For instance, Fireline is a pressure-treated fire treatment that we offer is fully WUI and International WUI compliant and allows you to use natural wood on the exterior of your house, while still having the peace of mind that your structure is protected.

By implementing these strategies, communities can enhance their resilience against wildfires and create safer living environments in the wildland-urban interface.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is meant by the wildland urban interface?

The wildland-urban interface (WUI) refers to the areas where human development and wildland vegetation meet or overlap. It represents the boundary between built environments, such as cities, towns, and rural areas, and nearby natural habitats. As a result, the WUI can be a source of both natural resources and potential hazards, such as increased wildfire risk.

Why is the wildland-urban interface a major challenge for firefighters?

The wildland-urban interface presents a significant challenge for firefighters due to the proximity of populated areas, increasing the risk of property damage and civilian injuries. Additionally, hazardous materials often used near homes and limited access to the fire zone can pose significant dangers to first responders, making firefighting operations in the WUI complex and demanding.

What is a wildland urban interface area within Colorado?

In Colorado, the wildland-urban interface (WUI) refers to the areas where human development and forested or wildland vegetation intersect. These areas are crucial in maintaining healthy forests and reducing the risk of wildfire damage to people and property. In addition, creating fire-resistant landscapes throughout the WUI region helps mitigate the risk of wildfires and protect the environment.

What does WUI mean in construction?

In construction, the term Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) refers to areas where built-up urban environments meet undeveloped wildlands. It designates the transition area between these two environments, providing a buffer zone that helps reduce risks associated with wildfires and other potential hazards. The concept of the WUI is crucial in construction to protect both urban and wildland areas and minimize the risk of wildfires spreading into populated regions.

Wood Fire Treatments:  Pressure Treated vs Topically Applied

Posted on: February 24, 2023

Wood Fire Treatments:  Pressure Treated vs Topically Applied

Natural wood is a beautiful and versatile building material that has been used in construction for centuries. However, its flammability makes it vulnerable to fire damage, which can be devastating. To mitigate the risks associated with using natural wood in construction (and on exterior applications), there are two approaches to fire protection that are available: pressure-treated fire treatment and topical fire treatment. This article will discuss the differences between these two treatments, their benefits, and their compliance with Class A Fire Rating and Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) regulations.

Benefits of Utilizing a Fire Treatment

As already mentioned, natural wood has been used as a building material for centuries. However, with the increasing concerns of wildfires threatening properties, some have chosen to use alternative building materials that are manufactured for fire resistance.

Some even try to look like wood.

However, although these materials try to appear like the real deal, they can’t replicate an authentic wood product’s natural warmth and beauty.

Now, with the development and use of these cutting-edge fire retardants, you can utilize wood and have the confidence your project is protected the next time fire is threatening.

Additional benefits include:

  1. Code compliance. In many jurisdictions, fire treatments are required by building codes for certain types of construction. Compliance with Class A Fire Rating and WUI regulations can help ensure the safety of the building and its occupants.
  2. Durability. Pressure-treated fire treatment provides long-lasting protection against decay.

Why Is The Treatment’s Fire Rating Important?

The rating of the fire-retardant solution you decide to use reflects its effectiveness against flame spread and smoke development. The higher the rating in each of these categories the more protective the material is in a fire event so long as the materials are installed in accordance with the International Build Code.

A specific fire rating or designation may be required in some jurisdictions. In that case, you want to ensure the fire solution you choose on meets the requirements for your area. Consulting with local fire code officials is the best practice to ensure compliance and to make sure your structure is safe.

What Are The Fire Rating Classifications?

The following is a basic overview of the fire rating classifications. The index values measure how fast and how far flame will spread over a certain material.

Class 1 (or Class A) Fire Rating

A “Class A” or “Class 1” fire rating is a material’s best fire rating. Materials with this rating do not burn well and have a flame spread index of 0-25.

Class 2 (or Class B) Fire Rating

A “Class B” or “Class 2” fire rating is a material’s second-best rating. The flame spread index of materials with this class rating fall between 26-75.

Class 3 (or Class C) Fire Rating

A “Class C” or “Class 3” fire rating is the third best rating a material can achieve. The flame spread index of materials with this class rating fall between 76-200.

Note: The above rating classifications are established through specific testing processes established by the American Society of Testing and Materials. The ASTM E-84 is the standard test method for assessing the surface burning characteristics of building products to explore how the material might contribute to flame spread in the event of a fire. The test reports the tested product’s Flame Spread index and Smoke Developed index.

Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) Compliance and Standards

In specific areas under higher than normal threats from wildfires, materials and the application of fire retardant chemicals that meet WUI standards may be required.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “The WUI is the zone of transition between unoccupied land and human development. It is the line, area or zone where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland or vegetative fuels.

To achieve both a Class A rating and meet WUI standards, a material must be ignition resistant. Having the ability to resist ignition from flying embers or fire radiation during a wildfire.

california mountain home - wildland urban interface (WUI) compliance area - montana timber products

Pressure-Treated Fire Resistance Treatment

The process of applying a pressure-treated fire treatment involves placing the wood in a vessel, then injecting the chemical preservative under high pressure. This process forces the chemical deep into the wood fibers, providing long-lasting protection against decay, insects, and fire.

The result?

A highly durable and fire-resistant material that can be used in a variety of construction applications.

Materials armed with pressure-applied fire treatment are an ideal choice for applications that require either Class A fire rating compliance, or Class A fire rating in combination with Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) compliance requirements.

For instance, the products we offer (in combination with our Fireline treatment) have been a popular solution to meet these requirement needs.

Is “Pressure-Treated” the Same as Fire-Treated?

Note, the use of pressure is a part of this fire retardant application process; but, “pressure-treating” wood doesn’t necessarily make it a non-combustible material. For instance, the “pressure-treated” wood at your local lumber yard might have a higher resistance to rot and decay; but, it doesn’t mean it was additionally treated for fire resistance.

Topical Fire Treatment

Topical (or spray-applied) fire treatment involves the application of a fire-retardant chemical to the surface of the wood. This chemical creates a barrier that prevents the wood from catching fire. Topical fire treatment is generally less expensive than the pressure-treated alternative.

The topical treatments are applied to the surface of the wood after it has been milled; but, before it has been finished and installed.  

Some topical treatments carry a Class A Fire rating and are accepted in wildfire-prone areas of the country. 

For instance, the spray-applied fire resistant treatment that we offer carries a Class A rating, is environmentally friendly, and is applied by our in-house production team.

Ultimately, the local authority having jurisdiction mandates code compliance pertaining to fire resistant building materials and what is required in your building area.

wood fire resistance testing - wood fire treatments - montana timber products

Will Fire Treatments Affect The Look Of Our Wood Siding?

As a result of the treatment process, we do see a slight finish variation after it has received the pressurized fire treatment.

How noticeable?

Maybe a shade or two darker when finished as compared to the material of the same product line and finished color that wasn’t treated.

Our spray-applied treatment can have a very subtle color change when combined with some of our stains. With that in mind, control samples may be needed.

This is great for areas where only Class A is required; however, if WUI compliance is required in your area, the pressure-applied solution is your only option.

Which Fire Retardant Solution is Best For You?

Choosing the best fire retardant-treated wood solution for you and your project depends on a few factors.

  1. Your budget. Pressure-treated fire retardant is more expensive than the spray-applied option.
  2. Your location. A fire retardant with a Class A rating is the only requirement in some areas. WUI compliance (in addition to a Class A rating) is required in other areas. You need to confirm with the authority with jurisdiction in your building zone.
  3. Your timeline. When it comes to fire protection treatments that we provide, we apply the spray-applied protection in-house whereas pressure-treated is completed in another facility. So, ordering material with our Fireline treatment will affect your lead time.

While eliminating wildfires is not possible, there are viable options, while still using a renewable product like natural wood to help protect your property. Home hardening, which includes implementing fire-resistant exteriors and defensible spaces around structures, is a great first plan of action.

AquaFir™ Lodge Reconditioned with Fireline™ treatment

Posted on: June 2, 2022

AquaFir™ Lodge Reconditioned with Fireline™ treatment

Where:  Colorado
Products:  AquaFir™ product line in brown color with raked texture for siding, soffit, deck trim, window trim, decking, fascia, and faux beam wrap.  Wood substrate is kiln-dried douglas fir.
Product Use:  1×8 vertical shiplap siding, with 1×6 tongue and groove overhangs, and 2×6 tongue and groove decking.  2″ thickness boards varied in widths used for all trim and beam wraps with widths from 4″ to 12″ wide.  All material has been treated for fire protection with Fireline™.


Fireline™ treatment is available in all product lines in two wood substrates (douglas fir or cedar).  The treatment solves for WUI (Wildland Urban Interface) code compliance without sacrificing the beauty of real wood.  Choose Fireline™ for peace of mind with your natural aesthetic.  Select your color and let’s get started today.

Montana Timber Products is a specialty wood products manufacturer of rustic, modern and contemporary wood siding, interior accents, reclaimed wood, and barn wood alternatives.  Our ranchwood™, AquaFir™, ranchwood™ Artisan, ranchwood™ weathered, Charwood™, and Corral Board product lines offer a full selection of exterior and interior wood materials.  All the products can be used for residential and commercial application.  Each product line is offered in two wood species, Douglas Fir and Cedar.  Seal-Once offers high performance long lasting waterproofing seal that is environmentally friendly non-toxic protection.  Selling direct to the customer and custom milling each order allows Montana Timber Products flexibility to create your project.  Call 406-215-4961 for more information or fill out the contact form at:

AquaFir™ Clear Vertical Grain Cedar with Fireline™ treatment

Posted on: April 28, 2022

AquaFir™ Clear Vertical Grain Cedar with Fireline™ treatment

Where:  Truckee, CA
Products:  AquaFir™ product line in custom color siding and soffit in smooth texture.  Wood substrate is Clear Vertical Grain Cedar.
Product Use:  1×8 tongue and groove with ¼” reveal for the horizontal siding. Soffit material 1×4 tongue and groove is all Fireline™.

Fireline™ treatment uses a vacuum pressure impregnation process to remove moisture and air from the wood cells and replace it with additives.  The fire treatment lasts the useful life of the wood product.  Fireline™ is a compliant option for homes in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) zone.  When projects require the extra protection Montana Timber Products offers a solution without sacrificing the character of the natural wood material.

mountain house

wood siding

Our ranchwood™, AquaFir™, ranchwood™ Artisan, ranchwood™ weathered, Charwood™, and Corral Board product lines offer a full selection of exterior and interior wood materials.  All the products can be used for residential and commercial application.  Each product line is offered in two wood species, Douglas Fir and Cedar in various grades, talk to a Montana Timber Products representative to find out what fits your design and budget best.  Call 406-215-4961 for more information or fill out the contact form at:

Luxury Hotel in Townsquare Jackson Hole

Posted on: November 18, 2021

Luxury Hotel in Townsquare Jackson Hole

Where:  Wyoming
Products:  ranchwood™ Artisan dusk in cedar and a custom Charwood™ color in douglas fir CVG (clear vertical grain). Both colors are pressure treated to be fire-resistant with Fireline™.
Product Use:  1×6 shiplap for the dusk cedar material, 1×6 tongue and groove profile on the Douglas Fir CVG custom Charwood™ material.

The Cloudveil Hotel (An Autograph Collection Hotel by Marriott) was designed to provide luxury and tranquility amid a setting that calls to the mountain naturescape and western heritage of Jackson Hole.  Our team worked closely with the design and construction teams to meet the exacting details that this project required.  All exterior wood siding was manufactured with our Fireline treatment to meet the stringent fire resistance standards.  There are two distinct siding elements that were created specifically for this project to meet the inspired aesthetic vision. Time and again, Montana Timber Products has proven to be the manufacturer of choice for both architects and contractors to provide natural wood siding elements on extraordinary projects.

The hotel used Montana Timber Products pressure treated fire-resistant materials. All the product lines can be pressure treated for effective fire-resistant properties in douglas fir and cedar. Fireline™ is available for interior and exterior use, consult with a sales rep to get additional information on Fireline™ and get your project started.

Montana Timber Products offers five product lines in more than 40 colors, each of these product lines can be used on:  timbers, fabricated trusses, posts, beams, glulam beams, decking, siding, trim, fascia, soffit, interior paneling, and cedar shakes.  Each product is stained and sealed in a controlled environment, ready to install in any weather condition.  Clients can select from the five product lines, two wood species in three grades, six profiles, and four textures to create their perfect project.  All products can be used for commercial and residential application.  Our products can fit any architectural design from mountain rustic, modern rustic and contemporary.  All with mill direct pricing, exceptional quality, consistency, shipping throughout North America and flexibility to customize each order.  Get started today call 406-215-4961 for more information or fill out the contact form at:

Hyatt Anchorage Alaska

Posted on: September 13, 2019

Hyatt Anchorage Alaska

Where:  Alaska
Ranchwood™ exterior siding and interior accents in cedar, timbers are kiln dried douglas fir all in Eastern color with wire brush texture.
Product Use: 1×12 square edge,1×6 tongue and groove, various size timbers, beams, posts, all products have the
FireKote 100 treatment

Fire Kote-100 offers architects, contractors and homeowners protection from fire hazards.  This spray-applied option does not change the appearance of the wood, but gives protection needed in area’s where fire is a concern.  Our process allows us to customize each order to meet customer’s needs.  The extensive line of products include:  siding, trim, soffit, and fascia, interior accents, timbers, fabricated trusses, decking and glulam beams.  Contact Montana Timber Products to get your project started today.  Get samples and a quote by calling 406-215-4961 or fill out the contact form at: