Can Embers
Start a Fire?

Embers are one of the leading ways that wildfires grow and spread by igniting spot fires, jumping firebreaks, and more.

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What are Embers?

Embers, also sometimes called “firebrands,” are pieces of burning wood, vegetation, or other materials that are light enough to be caught and moved by the wind. Because embers get swept up by the wind, they can land on dry areas and structures, where they can ignite new fires.

Here is how embers contribute to the danger during a wildfire:

Embers can travel long distances, sometimes miles away from the primary fire front. Embers travel an average of 2 kilometres, but there have been recorded instances of embers traveling up to 17 kilometres. If embers land in dry vegetation or on flammable surfaces, they can ignite new fires. This ability to start fires ahead of the main fire front is known as "spotting" and is a key reason why wildfires can spread rapidly.

Embers can land on roofs, in gutters, or near combustible materials such as dry vegetation or structures. If embers ignite these vulnerable areas, they can lead to the development of spot fires. Spot fires increase the complexity of firefighting efforts as they can emerge outside the established fire perimeter.

During a wildfire, strong winds can carry embers over large distances. This creates the potential for fire to spread into new areas, even those that might seem relatively safe from the main fire. These flying embers can jump natural or man-made firebreaks, such as roads or rivers, resulting in new, unexpected fires.

Embers contribute to the overall intensity of a wildfire. As they are carried by the wind, they can ignite vegetation, structures, and other materials, adding fuel to the fire and making it more difficult to control.

Embers are a common cause of homes igniting during wildfires. They can land on roofs, in vents, or near other combustible materials, leading to the ignition of structures. This is why it's crucial for homeowners in wildfire-prone areas to take steps to make their properties more resilient to ember attack.

Where are Fire Embers Most Likely to Ignite

Wildfire embers will ignite anything they come into contact with that is easily combustible. That means things like dry grass, vegetation, wood, and other materials that are very dry. Imagine anything that could catch fire if you held a match to it, that is something that an ember could potentially ignite. Common areas where embers ignite include:

Dry structures made of wood and/or other combustible materials

Areas with dry grass, leaves, and other vegetation

Dead or diseased trees

Structures that have dry leaves collected on the roof surface or in gutters

The common denominator here is that all of these areas are very dry. The more dry an area or structure, the more chance embers have of igniting a spot fire that could grow and spread significantly.


Remove Potential Fuel

Removing potential fuel is an important part of protecting your home, job site, or other structures from embers. Potential fuel is any material that is dry enough to potentially ignite if it comes in contact with embers. To minimize the amount of fuel, clean your gutters thoroughly and remove dead leaves, grasses, and other vegetation from around threatened structures. Make sure that you remove combustible materials from at least a 1.5-metre radius away from structures.

Remove Dead & Diseased Trees

When we think of vegetation that will ignite easily, we usually think of dry grasses, leaves, and other small, thin plants. However, dead or diseased trees can often be dry enough for embers to ignite and burn them. Removing dead and diseased trees from areas near structures can help to prevent ember ignition.

Use a Rooftop Sprinkler System

A rooftop sprinkler system is designed to keep structures wet so that they cannot catch fire. When an ember lands on a wet roof, it will simply go out, whereas if the roof had been dry, the entire structure could go up in flames after coming into contact with an ember.

sprinkler tower


Designed for Oil and Gas Industry to protect key infrastructure such as Operations Buildings during wildland fire events.

SPIEDR provides communities with reliable rooftop sprinkler systems designed especially to protect structures of all kinds from wildfire. The RAINMAKER sprinkler is versatile for both seasonal and permanent rooftop use, as well as perimeter setup for wildland fire threats in camp or site facilities. It adjusts to any roof pitch, elevating up to 6 feet to prevent water entry into HVAC systems.

With continuous 360-degree rotation, it covers a diameter of 240’-620’, depending on the specified sprinkler head. The adjustable nozzle combats high winds from head fires, providing a diffusion ideal for evenly covering fuels within its reach.

Installing the RAINMAKER sprinkler system, either permanently or seasonally, enhances site safety and wildfire preparedness, creating a reliable defense mechanism against destructive forces and ensuring everyone's safety on site.