Construction technology allowed house to be saved from wild fires in Chile

The hectares destroyed by fire in Chile during the last three weeks exceed 450,000, according to the balance delivered on Saturday by the National Disaster Prevention and Response Service (Senapred) of that country.

The fire emergency is the deadliest recorded in the country in the last decade, with 25 deaths. Meanwhile, almost 6,000 firefighters and brigade members are fighting to fight the fires that are still active.

Nationwide there are 224 developing forest fires. Of them, 26 are in combat, 159 controlled, 28 extinct and 11 under observation. The most affected areas, where the Government of Gabriel Boric has decreed a state of constitutional exception of catastrophe to deal with the emergency, are: Ñuble, Biobío and La Araucanía (located 400, 500 and 700 kilometers south of Santiago, respectively). .

And it was precisely in the Biobío Region where a house was saved thanks to the use of a construction technology: a fireproof coating. It is a coating developed by DVP, which, thanks to its materials, retards the action of flames. This prevented the house from burning: despite the fact that everything around it was consumed by fire.

Building near forests: “You have to keep this type of material in mind”

The UC architect, Carolina Valenzuela, explains that “generally people ask for durable materials over time, looking for a price-quality balance, but few questions about resistance to high temperatures or fire resistance.” Valenzuela points out that “there are several fireproof materials for construction, they were developed for points of conflict such as stadiums or protest zones, but today these technologies are also used in homes.”

When showing him the images of the devastated house, Valenzuela points out that “the resistance of the mentioned DVP material is impressive. It is noticeable how the coating was affected by the fire, but the structure of the house remains intact and that is the idea: to protect the house as much as possible”. “Especially if it is going to be built near forests, and considering this problem in Chile, this type of material must be taken into account,” he added.

Jesús Hernández, an architect from the Rafael Urdaneta University, points out that “what this material does is somehow retard the spread of fire. If that cabin had been just a way, it would be totally in ruins.

The siding has some advantages compared to other materials, “among them avoiding the spread of fire, as seen in the image. The damage could have been much greater,” added the professional.