Among the agenda items for Tuesday’s Goleta City Council meeting — which starts at its new time of 5:30 p.m. — is a requirement for noncombustible roofs. The proposed addition to the city’s building code adds “Class A” roofs to new construction north of Highway 101.
The city’s rule is currently for Class B roofs — often those treated with fire-resistant chemicals — but recent wildfires demonstrated the ability of high winds to send fire across a wide area, said Steve Stuart, Goleta’s building official. He lives in Santa Paula, and the Thomas Fire came within 50 yards of his home. He saw the tremendous winds generated by the fire hurl embers across the ground and into homes and roofs. “Winds and embers are real,” Stuart said with feeling. He has a closed-tile roof on his house, which survived the fire. “Embers are a real hazard,” he emphasized.
“Tile and metal are the most fire-resistant type of roofing,” Stuart explained, as are higher-grade, composition-type asphalt roofing. To upgrade to noncombustible asphalt shingles is about $300 for a 1,500-square-foot house, he added.
The meeting this evening also has the council reviewing other code changes, such as electrical and plumbing, to bring the city into compliance with newly adopted state revisions, as well as adopting the International Property Maintenance Code of 2018. A second reading of these ordinances takes place November 5, when public comment will be heard.
Though the state fire marshal hasn’t yet designated any parts of the city as “very high fire hazard,” the city butts up against them along its borders with the county and Los Padres National Forest, Stuart pointed out. The state fire marshal is due to report to the city in about three months, he said, when another set of regulations may be considered that would include fire-resistant attic vents, less combustible siding, and tempered glass on windows.