MONTECITO, Calif. – Montecito residents can have their vents replaced with fire-resistant materials ahead of fire season as part of the Montecito Fire Protection District's 2022 Vent Retrofit Program.
This is the second year the department has implemented the program that goes beyond ensuring houses have defensible space by helping Montecito residents harden their homes to be more resilient to wildfire, said Montecito Fire spokeswoman Christina Favuzzi.
"During a wildfire, embers can make their way through vents and other crevices," Favuzzi said. "Those embers may ignite combustible material inside the home and potentially, lead to a home being severely damaged or destroyed."
The Montecito Fire Protection District was one of the first departments in the west to provide free home hardening assistance to the community, and the debut of the Vent Retrofit Program was "an extraordinary success" in 2021, Favuzzi said.
Recent post-fire assessments found that hardened structures are three times more likely of surviving a fire when compared to non-hardened structures, Favuzzi said.
Students that analyzed the impacts of the 2018 Camp and Woolsey Fires found that many of the structures were lost because fire embers went through the vents, she added.
The fire department allocated budget funds to initiate the Home Hardening Assistance PRogram and encourages residents to take advantage of the free service.
Interested homeowners may apply to participate in the 2022 Vent Retrofit Program on montecitofire.com.
Montecito Fire's Wildland Fire Specialists will identify properties in the town that will benefit the most from upgrading their vents, Favuzzi said.