It is very common in this area for builders to install pull down stairs to access the attic, via the garage ceiling. Should a fire occur in the garage it could quickly and easily spread to the attic and then the home.
Once this has been done, there are a few relatively simple repairs that can be made to remedy the problem.
1) Cover this thin piece of wood veneer with a 5/8″ drywall
2) Some attic stair manufacturers provide a “No Burn Paint” which also slows down the heat and smoke through the access.
There are some products that can be sprayed on to meet firewall safety requirements. www.noburn.com is one example.
http://www.memphisfoldingstairs.com/ FIREGARD OPTION
The fire retardant plywood door panel is chemically treated to provide slower ignition, low flame spread, lower smoke production, and has self extinguishing features (burning ceases when ignition source is removed or exhausted.) Class A, or 1, pressure treated plywood is approved by building codes throughout the US for specific applications within fire resistant buildings as an equal alternative to non-combustible construction.
The opening for the attic access has breached the firewall integrity IRC Building code – 309.2 Separation required. The garage shall be separated from the residence and its attic area by not less than 1/2-inch (12.7 mm) gypsum board applied to the garage side.