PORTLAND, Ore.—With the Fourth of July holiday right around the corner, the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) is cautioning homeowners that fireworks and certain types of roofing materials don’t mix.
That’s especially true as many regions are experiencing an early start to the wildfire season. Hot temperatures and fireworks only exasperate the problem, making the danger of lighting up entire neighborhoods by one careless accident a very real threat.
Fireworks cause an estimated 18,500 reported fires in the U.S. each year, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Sparks and airborne illegal fireworks can easily ignite if they land in gutters or on top of roofs made of wood shake and even asphalt. Windy conditions are particularly dangerous for using fireworks as drifting embers and sparks are more likely to be blown onto rooftops.
According to the MRA, that makes the July Fourth holiday the perfect time for homeowners to consider the fire rating of their roof, which are either Class A, Class B, Class C or unrated. An unrated roof is the most vulnerable to fire and includes materials such as non-fire-retardant treated wood shakes or shingles. Class A roofs, such as metal roofing, are among the most fire-resistant materials—so much so, they are recommended for wildfire-prone areas to help protect homes.
“Metal sheets and shingles can be fashioned to resemble cedar shake and other roofing material, but without the fire hazard that comes with those materials,” said Renee Ramey, executive director of the Metal Roofing Alliance. “That makes metal an exceptional choice for not only safety, durability and performance in any season, but style as well.”
Other tips to protect homes during the Fourth of July fireworks and wildfire season from sources such as the National Roofing Contractors Association include:
- Create a defensible barrier. Trim tree branches away from the roof. Keep gutters clean as dried leaves and vegetation can create the ideal ignition conditions for a wayward spark.
- Pay attention to your roof’s components. Use only vent covers that will not readily burn or melt.
- Maintain your roof all year long. Have a professional roofer inspect your roof, clear off flammable debris and repair any missing or damaged components to prevent embers from nestling into vulnerable or exposed areas.
- When reroofing, consider long-term performance and protection. Choose durable, nonflammable materials, such as metal roofs, and ensure your roof has a Class A rating for fire-resistant performance, especially near any wildfire-prone area.
- Focus on your surroundings when using fireworks. Only use legal fireworks in a safe area, completely away from dry fields, forests and buildings. Keep water, a garden hose and garden tools nearby to safely extinguish fireworks and obey all local ordinances regulating the sale and use of fireworks.