The durability and behaviour of wood in the case of fire is very predictable and well documented. Laboratory test conducted on burned houses in America, England and Austria, have concluded that wood is a very difficult material to ignite, and the fire outbreak needs to be rather substantial and the fire must burn for a prolonged period of time and a sufficient amount of oxygen is available for combustion of wood.
Without the presence of a prolonged source of heat, would is not likely to combust unless it is consistently exposed to temperatures of 450-500ºC, a temperature at which even steel loses most of its strength.
Under such stress of temperature, even concrete builds fail, as the steel supports inside expand with the heat, causing cracking of the cement, and once the fire is over, the steel contracts, causing further damage to the cement. This can result in collapse of the building or a state whereby the building is no longer inhabitable.
When wood burns, it burns slowly at a combustion rate of 0.67mm/minute without sudden loss of strength that occurs in steel.
Any wooden buildings adjacent to flames remain unscathed and do not loose any of their durability characteristics. It is noteworthy that the strength of wood actually increases in higher temperature due to the reduction of internal moisture. Additionally, if internal heat has caused ignition whilst there is a lack of an external heat source, the combustion remains confined. Special treatments used on the wood can further increase its resistance to fire.
To conclude, in the case of a fire,the unburnt portion of the building will retain its strength and thus minimise the chance of a collapse of the building.
By simply replacing the burnt surfaces and/ or the burnt timber, the house can be restored to its original state, and can continue to be used.
The timber we use is extremely slow burning,especially the use of whole logs. Thanks to modern technology, we can now produce high quality materials that protect the wood (such as special lubricantsused in the treatment). This treated wood provides advanced resistance to solar UV, radiation and fire protection.