Mist System For Wildfire Mitigation?

Reader Contribution by Bruce Mcelmurray
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Every so often an idea comes along that is worthy of being shared.  An idea like that came along when we had a State of Colorado wildfire risk audit. The audit was done by a forester with many years of experience.  Having done all we could possibly do with other areas of our home I expressed a concern on how we could protect our deck from being a possible fire vehicle to our home. Hot flying embers landing on a deck can set it on fire leading to the house. That is when the forester’s experience came forth with what I consider an excellent suggestion. The forester suggested that he had seen mist systems used in other parts of the country which may be one possible solution,

I had seen mist systems used at theme parks to cool patrons on especially hot days. A friend in Georgia uses a similar system to cool her rabbit hutch and another friend in Arizona uses one to cool themselves during very hot days. However I had not considered using a mist system for potential wildfire protection. The mist systems don’t use much water as they emit a mist that fans out and wets down the area. I had not  considered using a mist system to keep our deck wet in case of a wildfire but it sounds like a reasonable option to me. I had thought of possibly using a sprinkler but that takes considerable water and I was concerned that after a few hours/days it may pump the well dry since it could be running continuously for several days during an evacuation. Our well has excellent capacity but any well would be stressed to allow water to run continuously.

I did an on line search for mist systems and also considered making my own system from PVC pipe.  As I thought about this possible solution I realized how good a suggestion it was.  My internet search came up with a company named Advanced Misting Systems found at http://www.advancedmistingsystems.com.  I found low pressure systems that ran from $40.00 up to $120.00.  My initial inclination was to make my own system from PVC pipe but when I found these systems already to set up and priced affordable it seemed easier to purchase a system in the Spring time. I called the company and found they have been in business for many years specializing in these systems. They were also aware that some customers purchased their systems for wildfire protection but they are not marketed for this intent. Other companies sell these systems but this company seems to specialize in this type system and have a good knowledge of the mist system. I also did not want to fabricate a system myself only to find out the hard way it would not function the way I intended.   

It was encouraging to learn that we scored 10 points better than  an excellent  score in wildfire mitigation but it was even better to receive a suggestion like this which not only makes very good sense but is reasonably priced and easy to assemble. I don’t see any reason it would not work for our situation even though not specifically designed for what we intend to use it for. If you go onto the above web page there is a video on installation which looks simple enough for even someone like me to handle.

If you live remotely like we do and have been wondering how to protect a deck, small out building or other hard to protect areas of your homestead, this seems like a potential option. It is something we will be seriously exploring in April or May when our snow melts and our wildfire risk increases. It is something I hope we never have to test but if we do I hope we can report further on its function. It seemed like a good option to me and I thought I would pass it along for other remote homesteaders as an option they may not have thought of and might want to consider.

For more on Bruce and Carol McElmurray and remote mountain living go to: http://www.brucecarolcabin.blogspot.com