We are all thinking about wildfire right now and for good reason. As I write this article there are 10 wildfires burning in Colorado. Wildfires have been an increasing cause of catastrophic losses in recent years. Spurred by the lack of precipitation, wildfires have become a greater and greater threat.
It is a helpless feeling when it comes time to gather belongings and evacuate your home. Even though you can’t move your home out of the path of a wildfire, there are things that can be done to help mitigate before the fire comes. Not only does mitigation help reduce the risk of a wildfire damaging your home, it also helps firefighters protect your home. Given the choice between two homes in the path of a fire, they will always choose the one that has the best chance of being protected and has the least risk to firefighter’s lives.
Here are several things you can do TODAY:
- Remove brush as far away from your home and other structures as you can to create defensible space.
- Don’t keep debris piled up near your home.
- Trim trees 6’-8’ off the ground and remove “feeder” trees from under established trees.
- Keep grass mowed around the home.
- Replace a wood shake roof. (Firefighters will not defend a home with a wood shake roof.)
- Stack firewood away from your home.
There are some landscape companies and some neighborhood groups that can help. Stay diligent, make sure to reassess your defensible space each year and maintain where necessary.
A wildfire rages on in Black Forest, Colorado June 12, 2013. Fire crews battled a wind-whipped wildfire on Wednesday that burned at least 80 homes near Colorado Springs, while another blaze shut one of the state’s top tourist attractions and forced the evacuation of more than 900 inmates from a prison. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES – Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT) – RTX10LL1