At a joint meeting held on January 30, Portola Valley and Woodside council members decided to postpone ruling on a Woodside fire marshal’s proposal to ban new wood-shake roofs in both cities.In light of the severe drought and a shake roof’s potential to spread fire, Fire Marshal Denise Enea of the Woodside Fire Protection District had proposed a ban on new shake roofs. According to Enea, burning embers landing on shake roofs can spread a fire quickly and put homes and neighborhoods at risk. Enea said even chemically treated wood-shake roofs lose some of their resistance over time.
Those who defended the wood-shake roofs said chemically treated wood shakes are safe so that embers landing on a treated roof will not catch fire. Insurance representatives present differed on the issue and it was noted that homes on the hills with wood-shake roofs are tougher to insure and could cost more, depending on the insurance company.
After hearing arguments for and against the ban, the Portola Valley and Woodside council members agreed to wait for more data on the effectiveness of fire retardant treatment on shake roofs beyond 10 years. They said they also would consider incentives to encourage residents to replace aging ignitable roofs.
If you own a residence or an investment property make sure both you and your property manager is aware of the new rulings.