The 2017 Northern California Wildfires were a truly disturbing reminder of nature’s destructive power. As the hot, dry 80 mph “Diablo” winds swept through the valley, they picked up embers from small scattered wildfires.
Most of these embers landed in dense, dry undergrowth. Before anyone could respond, several firestorms erupted. A firestorm is something that takes on a life of it’s own and creates its own weather. The conditions over the course of those 4 days made them unstoppable.
The authorities wrongfully assumed that a 6 lane freeway would be enough of a barrier to stop the fire from jumping to the other side. In a matter of minutes the firestorm had jumped over Interstate 101 and raced up the hill.
Around 2am that night, the flames reached the top of the hill they quickly devoured some of the finest residences in Santa Rosa. A firestorm does to a house what a blowtorch does to a piece of paper. It happened so fast that victims barely had time to get out of their homes alive.
That week in Mendocino and Sonoma counties, 3000 structures burnt down and 60 people lost their lives.
The modern home is a marvel of engineering. However, most modern homes are made out of flammable material. It is easy to forget how vulnerable most of our homes are to flames since they certainly look substantial and do such a great job keeping out all the elements.
An entire industry has been built around the belief that the best way to build a house structure is with wood. The structural softwood in most modern houses is also commonly sold as firewood.
This can seem ridiculous when there are so many economically viable ways to make fireproof structures homes.
There is one type of dwelling that is especially interesting which is known as an Earthship.
As the name implies, the Earthship is mostly made out of dirt and things most would consider to be useless garbage such as old worn out tires, glass bottles and soda cans.
Check out the next page to learn how they are built!