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Protect your Home, Property and Forest from Wildfire
Homeowners, landowners and communities bear the ultimate responsibility to help protect themselves, their property and their local values at risk from the threat of wildland fire.
Homeowners can take a number of steps to protect their property and help alleviate the spread of wildland fires. Preventive measures include clearing excess fuel, creating defensible space around their homes and using FireWise practices. Many Coloradans living in the foothills in ponderosa and lodge pole forests need to consider the fire-prone nature of these ecosystems.
Due to Colorado’s arid climate and fire-dependent forests, many homeowners and landowners may be particularly vulnerable to wildfires. It is important to keep this threat in mind when buying or building a home. Fire is unpredictable. If there are weaknesses in your home’s fire protection scheme, fire can gain the upper hand because of some overlooked or seemingly inconsequential factor. By creating a wildfire defensible zone, homes are less vulnerable from this naturally occurring phenomenon and the chance of spreading wildfires is greatly reduced.
If you are a homeowner and you are interested in protecting your home from wildfires, follow the CSFS FireWise guidelines. While you may not be able to accomplish all of these measures, each will increase your home’s safety and survival during a wildfire. Start with the easiest and least expensive actions. Begin your work closest to the house and move outward. Keep working on the more difficult items until you have completed your entire project.
Two factors have emerged as the primary determinants of a home’s ability to survive wildfires: choosing fire-resistant roofing material and creating a wildfire defensible zone. First, it is important to choose a fire-resistant roofing material that is rated class C or higher when building a house in, or near, forests or grasslands. Avoid flammable materials such as wood or shake shingles.
Choose surrounding vegetation wisely: maintain a greenbelt (irrigated if possible) immediately around your home using grass, a flower garden and/or fire-resistant ornamental shrubbery. An alternative is rock or other non-combustible material, which may be preferable if your house is made of wood or other flammable materials. Avoid using bark or wood chip mulch in this area.
Learn how to create defensible space around your home
Are You FireWise?
Many people don’t realize that they face serious wildfire danger. But if you live in the foothills, grasslands or mountains of Colorado, you are at risk!
Compounding the problem is the exploding population in once-rural areas surrounding municipalities. The result is that more homes and more lives are potentially threatened by wildfire every year.
To be FireWise, you must carry out certain fire-protection measures before a fire even starts. By following the fire-safety guidelines listed here, your home will have a chance to survive while firefighters work to bring the wildfire under control. Remember, a fire department’s effectiveness in battling a wildfire starts with YOU!
The CSFS, in partnership with Larimer County and Poudre Fire Authority, developed Colorado’s Are You FireWise? guidelines. Subsequently, these guidelines were adapted for homeowners and landowners living on Colorado’s plains.
Both sets of guidelines can be downloaded in their entirety.
• Are You FireWise? Notebook- http://csfs.colostate.edu/pdfs/wholenotebook.pdf
• Are You Plains FireWise? Notebook http://csfs.colostate.edu/pdfs/plains_FW.pdf
Or, click on the links below to read about the individual topics contained within the guidelines:
• Access- http://csfs.colostate.edu/pages/access.html
• Water Supply- http://csfs.colostate.edu/pages/water-supply.html
• Defensible Space- http://csfs.colostate.edu/pages/defensible-space.html
• Trees & Shrubs- http://csfs.colostate.edu/pages/trees-shrubs.html
• Construction, Design & Materials- http://csfs.colostate.edu/pages/construction-design-materials.html
• Interior Safety- http://csfs.colostate.edu/pages/interior-safety.html
• What to do When- http://csfs.colostate.edu/pages/what-to-do.html