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January/February 2010

ASTM WK23700 test deck showing an installed low-profile attic field vent (for medium profile concrete tile) being subjected to wind-driven flame and burning ember exposure.

Fire Exposure

Among the proposed new standards under way in ASTM Committee E05 on Fire Standards are two that cover aspects of fire exposure. Committee E05 welcomes participation in its standards developing activities.

Roof Field Vent Response

Embers from wildfires can travel through the air up to four miles away from the fire source, particularly in areas where wind is often prevalent during fire season. These embers can then enter structures through ventilation systems and other openings in a building envelope, resulting in fires being ignited from within a structure.

A proposed new ASTM standard will cover a test for the resistance of roof field vents to flames and burning embers. WK23700, Test Method for Evaluating Roof Field Vent Response to Wind Blown Flame and Burning Ember Exposure, is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee E05.14 on External Fire Exposures.

According to Gregory Daniels, president, O’Hagin’s Inc., and an E05 member, “the practical application of this proposed standard is to effectively subject roof field vents, and potentially ridge vents, to a real world exposure to wind-driven flames and burning embers under laboratory conditions.”

Daniels says that testing laboratories, vent manufacturers and fire and building officials throughout the world will be the primary users of WK23700 once it has been approved. “This proposed test method will be very helpful in quantifying any ventilation manufacturer’s claims as to flame and/or burning ember resistance of their products,” says Daniels.

Subcommittee E05.14 is currently looking for testing facilities to volunteer to assist in repeatability and reproducibility testing for the proposed standard.

Fire Response

Subcommittee E05.14 is also working on ASTM WK25760, Guide for Quantification of Fire Exposures. The proposed standard will cover fire exposure metrics that will then be used in the development of fire test methods.

According to Jon Traw, president, Traw Associates Consulting, and chairman of Task Group E05.14.08, the proposed standard will serve as a critical tool in the development of appropriate fire test methods to evaluate materials for their resistance to ignition and spread of fire from building to building and for reduction in potential property losses due to wildland-urban interface fires.

The work of the task group would greatly assist the development of appropriate fire test methods used by consumers and building code entities to guide the selection of materials used or allowed in building construction in areas subject to fire exposure from adjacent buildings or wildland fires. Regulatory agencies that enforce building codes would be the primary users of WK25760.

The task group developing WK25760 is focused strictly on this activity and welcomes participation from individuals with experience and knowledge in the area of exterior fire exposure to buildings.


Technical Information: (WK23700) Gregory Daniels, O’Hagin’s Inc., Rohnert Park, Calif.

Phone: 707-303-3660

(WK25760) Jon Traw, Traw Associates Consulting, Whittier, Calif.

Phone: 562-789-7583

ASTM Staff: Thomas O’Toole

Phone: 610-832-9739