As the rebuilding picks up pace in Sonoma County, one key thing thousands of fire survivors are seeking to address is how to safeguard their new homes from future infernos.

That means decisions about design options, building materials and safety systems such as fire sprinklers. For many, those choices have been made while still wrangling with insurers on settlements for fire losses, spelling greater uncertainty for most of those working on a budget.Local architects have been among those advising home owners over how to incorporate designs that would safeguard their homes.

“Building codes now require you to be safer, with the types of materials and the way you seal the building up so the fire doesn’t get sucked in and start to burn from the inside,” said Santa Rosa architect Sara Harrison Woodfield. “We do roof vents so they won’t allow flames to get inside. The building materials themselves have to be more fire resistant.

There’s stucco, or cement fiber siding.”Other measures she likes to incorporate to protect buildings include keeping rock near the bottom of the building and ending the siding eight inches above the rock, making it harder for burning debris blown up against the building to catch a home on fire.

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