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Hailey City Council bans cedar-shake shingles

A crew from Coeur d'Alene trains near Warm Lake as it prepares to help fight the Beaver Creek fire last summer. Photo by Anne Wallace Allen

A crew from Coeur d’Alene trains near Warm Lake as it prepares to help fight the Beaver Creek fire in August. Photo by Anne Wallace Allen

The Hailey City Council has voted to prohibit the use of cedar-shake shingles on rooftops in the wake of last summer’s large wildfire.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports the council made the decision early the week of Nov. 18.

The new rule exceeds the Wildland Urban Interface Code by prohibiting cedar-shake shingles entirely. The code allows the shingles if they are treated with fire retardant material. But city Fire Marshal Mike Baledge said the council decided to ban the shingles entirely because the retardant wears off after a few years, and must be reapplied.

The 170-square-mile Beaver Creek fire destroyed one home and threatened hundreds of others until it was contained in early September.

Cedar shake shingles light on fire more easily than other roofing materials, such as asphalt or metal.

“During fires, especially during the Beaver Creek fire, they were getting ember drops the size of a football,” Baledge said Nov. 25. “One of those drops on a cedar shake roof can light up that roof. It doesn’t light it up right away; it lights it up four or five hours later.”

Baledge estimated there are only 60 houses in Hailey with cedar shake shingles, which are an expensive choice for roofing.

“With the people who already have them, we can’t make a code saying you’ve got to rip your roof off,” he said. “But if they do eventually re-roof their house, they’ll have to comply with the current standard.”

Baledge said the Wilderness Ranch community near Lucky Peak bans the shingles, unless they are treated with fire retardant. He added that several communities in Oregon and California, and the city of Sisters in Oregon, also adhere to the Wildland Urban Interface Code.

About The Associated Press

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