Structure wrap is an important tool used by firefighters to protect remote historic cabins, bridges, power poles, and other flammable structures where crews cannot safely work when the fire advances. The wrap is similar to the material used in the fire shelters that firefighters carry as a last-chance safety measure to protect themselves if caught in front of the fire with no way to escape. The wrap is made up of layers with a reflective thick aluminum layer on the outside over a woven fire-resistant insulating layer held together by high temperature adhesive. It will reflect approximately 96% of the radiant heat, 92% of the convective heat, and has high abrasion resistance. The materials can withstand heat above 1000°F before breaking down. A 5’ x 300’ roll of the material costs almost $900.
There is an art to properly wrapping a structure. It takes five to six hours to wrap an average cabin as well as about 15,000 staples and rolls of heat resistant tape. Some key elements are to make sure there are no gaps for an ember to lodge in and that it is tight enough to withstand 50 mph winds. (After the fire someone gets the time-consuming job of pulling all the staples!) This structure wrapping is usually done in conjunction with removing fuels from the immediate area, burning out a safety zone around the structure, and/or setting up sprinklers and hose to wet down the surrounding area.
This is the historic Corral Park Cabin located on Corral Creek just southwest of the Cameron Peak Fire near Long Draw Reservoir on the Arapaho-Roosevelt National Forest. It is wrapped and prepared in case the fire moves in that direction. The forest is protecting the cabin because of its historical significance as an example of early settlement and cattle grazing in Larimer County.
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