Report: 1 million Sydney homes at risk of wildfires

Report: 1 million Sydney homes at risk of wildfires

18 January 2014

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Australia — Australian fire officials say as many as 1 million homes in Sydney are located within brush fire zones and many are not up to code if a fire breaks out.

The problem started more than 50 years ago during a building boom around the Australian capital. The expansion into areas where brush fires are common would not likely be permitted under modern building codes, the Sydney Morning Herald reported Saturday.

Because they were grandfathered in, many of the homes in suburban Sydney do not have modern brush fire accommodations — including roof sprinklers and thicker glass for windows — and are made of exposed wood.

A home is defined as existing within brush fire zone if it is 300 feet from an area where a brush fire is likely to break out, but officials said homes within 1,000 feet of a zone are at risk of falling embers that could start the structure on fire in the event of a large blaze.

The region underwent a serious brush fire scare in 2011 when more than 100 homes were burned after a fire broke out on the outskirts of the city during the summer season.

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