David Hertz

At any given time, wildfires are raging around the world, from California to the Amazon to Australia. In the United States, 4.5 million homes were identified at high or extreme risk of wildfire, according to a 2017 study by data analytics provider Verisk, with more than 2 million at-risk structures in California alone.

Despite knowing the risks of living in a threatened area, David Hertz, FAIA, and his wife, Laura Doss-Hertz, purchased a 47-acre ranch in Malibu, Calif. Hertz is the founder of Los Angeles–based practice David Hertz Architects and Studio of Environmental Architecture.

Hertz shared with ARCHITECT some do’s and don’ts related to wildfire-resilient residential design for new construction and renovation projects. Though living and building in high-risk areas are far from ideal, the land falling under this categorization is expanding due to climate change. As it stands, many desirable—and thus well populated—places to live are susceptible to wildfire and more will be added in the future.

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