Skip to content
Nicole FicheraFeb 3, 2024 4:55:31 PM1 min read

This 100-Year Old House Survived Maui Wildfires

In a stunning turn of events, the raging Maui wildfires left one red-roofed wooden house in Lahaina almost completely untouched. The powerful photo circulated the internet this week, clearly showing the surrounding buildings completely devastated by the flames.

According to experts, It appears that meticulous yard work, having ample space around the house played a crucial role in its survival. These proactive measures have been hailed as the ultimate defense against the destructive force of wildfires.

The great news is that homeowners have the power to take the same precautions:

maintaining a perimeter of at least five feet around their homes, completely free from dry or flammable vegetation or mulch

ensuring the roof and gutters are clear, removing any flammable objects from underneath porches and decks

installing non-combustible 1/8-inch mesh screening on vents to crawl spaces or attics.

According to wildfire mitigation expert Pat Durland, these were the reasons that the century-old house "didn't meet the requirements for ignition." Taking these proactive measures means that there is no fuel available for embers to ignite if they happen to drift towards your home.

The homeowners, Trip Millikin and Dora Atwater Millikin, are actively working to share the best practices that miraculously saved their home, and to help their community rebuild as quickly and safely as possible.

"I felt guilty. We still feel guilty," Trip Millikin told the Civil Beat, adding that he and his wife plan to open up the house to their neighbors who lost their homes. "Let's rebuild this together...This house will become a base for all of us. Let's use it."

- via The Honolulu Civil Beat

Open-source resilient building strategies are a critically important resource in an age of extreme weather events. The Maui "miracle house" stands (literally) as an example: free and open sharing of simple resilience strategies could save countless lives and homes in the future. It's time for building industry professionals, community planners, and homeowners to incorporate resilience requirements in residential construction.


Nicole Fichera

Nicole is an innovation + architecture + futurism professional with over a decade of experience leading transformational initiatives.