Control measure – Appropriate intervention: Thatched roof fires

Control Measure Knowledge

Thatched roofs are designed to repel water, making traditional firefighting tactics ineffective. Consider creating firebreaks and using water sprays to protect unaffected sections and removing affected sections. The use of specialist firefighting equipment such as compressed air foam system (CAFS) or cutting extinguisher may assist in controlling thatch fires.
When creating fire breaks in thatch the speed of spread and the time taken to create a break should be considered. Any break should be made from the ridge down the full thickness of the thatch and should be wide enough to reduce the risk of firespread caused by hot embers. Consider dampening the edges of any break made.
Sparge pipes may be present in thatched roofs. Sparge pipes are small metal tubes similar to an irrigation system that allows water to be delivered as a fine mist across the thatch.
Firespread may not be visible and may occur within thatch layers. Consider using specialist equipment such as, thermal imaging or heat probes to detect extent of firespread.
Fires in thatched roofs are often caused by chimney stacks. Stacks may not cool for some time and may continue to cause combustion. Due to the depth and thickness of thatch this may not be obvious. Use thermal imaging to help identify the source of fire. Consider exposing or creating a trench around the chimney stack.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions