Recently CASBA, the California Straw Building Association, found some examples of strawbale homes that survived the North Bay wildfires.
Reprinted from the CASBA Newsletter:
Case Study #1: Sonoma
This strawbale home that survived is located near the end of Norrbom Road, north of the City of Sonoma. The residence features strawbale walls coated in Natural Hydraulic Lime plaster, rusted metal roofs and a concrete terrace adjacent the wood frame walls. While the fires burned up to the plastered bale walls, and charred a sliding wood door, the home did not catch fire. The owner stated,
“I think it pretty much survived on its own, with some patrols for hotspots. [It] looks like once power is restored all our systems are go. We are SO LUCKY! Go Strawbale construction!”
Michel Couvreux of TransMineral, purveyors of the Natural Hydraulic Lime used to plaster the walls of the home, noted that the pink hue is the result of the heat of the fires drawing out iron oxides from the mineral impurities in the lime mix, and that they use heat to create some of the colors. He added that the walls suffered no permanent damage and should be serviceable well into the future. Michel provided CASBA with these photos of the home after the fire.