Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council

Project Overview

This case study explores the development of the Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council’s Wildfire Home Hardening Guide, a web application designed to educate homeowners and renters about fortifying their properties against wildfire threats. The project emphasizes clear communication, innovative navigation, and accessibility to empower informed decision-making regarding wildfire preparedness.

Technology Stack

  • PHP / MySql
  • Marzipano 360° media viewer

Project Goals

  • Raise Awareness: Increase public awareness of the importance of home hardening and creating defensible space around homes to mitigate wildfire risks.
  • Provide Actionable Guidance: Equip residents with tools to identify vulnerable areas in and around their homes. Offer clear, step-by-step instructions on actions they can take to reduce wildfire risk.
  • Engage Users: Create an engaging and immersive user experience that fosters exploration, understanding, and knowledge retention.

Technical Solutions

  • Responsive Design: The website is optimized for desktop and large tablet use, but also functions on mobile devices, ensuring accessibility for a wider audience.
  • Sharable Content: Individual HTML pages were created for each section of the guide, enabling users to easily share specific sections through unique URLs.
  • Interactive Navigation: Marzipano, a 360° media viewer, provides an innovative way to explore key areas around two example homes. Users can virtually navigate the exteriors, gaining a realistic perspective on potential fire hazards and mitigation strategies. A traditional left-hand menu bar also allows for a more standard browsing experience if desired.
  • Video Integration: Vimeo video hosting offers free viewing of short videos featuring fire experts sharing essential information directly from the locations captured in the 360° photos. This seamless integration enhances user experience and knowledge retention.

Content Strategy

  • Drone Footage and 360° Images: High-quality drone footage and 360° rotational camera shots provide a clear visual representation of wildfire risk factors, highlighting the proximity of homes to wilderness and neighboring properties. This emphasizes the importance of defensible space and landscaping considerations.
  • Photographic Examples: A collection of photographs showcases real-world examples of “do’s and don’ts” for various aspects of home hardening. This visual approach aids in clear communication of fire mitigation practices.
  • Informative Videos: Short, focused videos delve into key concepts related to fire-sensitive areas of homes. These videos provide concise explanations and practical guidance.
  • Informational Materials: Diagrams and instructional materials supplement the visual content, offering detailed explanations of important concepts.
  • Printable Resources: Two-page PDF overviews of the content cater to users who prefer offline access to the information.
  • Multilingual Support: A Spanish translation of the entire portal ensures accessibility for Spanish-speaking residents.


The Santa Barbara County Fire Safe Council’s Wildfire Home Hardening Guide stands as a unique and valuable resource. The website’s innovative interface, clear communication approach, and focus on user engagement effectively educate residents about home hardening practices. This, in turn, empowers homeowners and renters to take proactive steps in protecting their properties and communities from wildfire threats.

Technical Expertise

This case study highlights the technical expertise involved in building the Wildfire Home Hardening Guide, including:

  • Responsive web design for various screen sizes
  • Development of individual HTML pages for shareable content
  • Integration of Marzipano for a 360° interactive experience
  • Seamless video integration with Vimeo
  • Content creation encompassing drone footage, photography, and informative videos
  • Development of downloadable PDF resources
  • Implementation of a multilingual website

This project serves as a model for creating engaging and informative educational resources through innovative technology and user-centered design. By empowering residents with knowledge and actionable steps, the Wildfire Home Hardening Guide contributes significantly to wildfire preparedness efforts within Santa Barbara County and beyond.