Fire Prevention & Protection, Firefighting

Charred wood and fire resistance

Issue 10 and Volume 169.

Charred wood and fire resistance This refers to “Construction Concerns: Charred Wood vs. Increased Fire Resistance” by Gregory Havel (, July 11, 2016). Although it is possible that the fire service has been taught that mass timber structures behave like “fire-resistive” materials during a fire, this is certainly not an assumption supported by the American Wood Council (AWC). Today, model building codes use the term “fire resistance” to describe the ability of a material or assembly to resist or retard the passage of heat from fire. Research and fire service experience support the argument that, as char forms during pyrolysis, the rate of charring decreases. The author suggests that char is nothing more than black residue that has little to do with the fire performance of wood products; however, char acts as an insulator that protects the wood beneath and slows the rate of burning of the protected wood. Charring…

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