Prepare for wildfires now

Special to the Herald Times
RBC | With wildfires burning homes and causing evacuations throughout Colorado already this season—in addition to statewide snowpack levels being below normal—the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) wants to remind homeowners living in the wildland-urban interface to prepare for wildfires before they arrive.
While there is no guarantee firefighters will be able to save a home from a wildfire, the odds increase if homeowners and communities take proactive steps to reduce their fire risk, says Lisa Mason, CSFS forestry education specialist.
“Fire risk reduction efforts are much more effective when neighbors work together to reduce hazardous fuels around their homes and throughout the community,” Mason said.
“Remember that addressing wildfire risk is not a one-time effort and that flammable vegetation grows back over time,” Mason said.
For more information and resources on protecting homes and communities from wildfire, including how to become a Firewise Community, visit csfs.colostate.edu/wildfire-mitigation or call a local CSFS field office.
– Remove all flammable vegetation within at least 15 feet of any part of a home or other structure, including decks.
– Reduce the density of standing trees within 100-200 feet of all structures.
– Ensure adequate access for fire and emergency equipment and be sure that the house number is easily visible to emergency responders.
– Keep grasses and weeds surrounding the home mowed to a height of less than six inches, through regular maintenance.
– Regularly clear pine needles and leaves from gutters and decks, and trim overhanging branches.
– Stack firewood and locate propane tanks at least 30 feet from and uphill of structures.
– Have an evacuation plan and a designated meeting place that all family members are familiar with.
– Prepare a “grab and go” disaster kit with necessary family/pet items including important documents/photos, clothing, medications, food/water, phone charger, etc. so you are ready for immediate departure.
– Contact your county sheriff’s office to ensure your phone number appears in Reverse 911 or other emergency notification database.