Michele Steinberg

Colorado wildfire raises concern for community safety

Blog Post created by Michele Steinberg Employee on Jun 14, 2012

Colorado wildfire
Fire officials in Larimer, Colorado have recently reported that the High Park Fire, centered about 15 miles northwest of Fort Collins, is estimated to have burned 50,000 acres and  remains only 10 percent contained.  The size and intensity of the fire raises major safety concerns for communities in and around the area, and is prompting many homeowners to look for ways to reduce their risk and help prepare their homes and property from potential damage.

If your area has been placed on alert, NFPA’s Firewise Communities Program can provide a number of resources, including simple, but effective, steps you can do now ahead of the approaching wildfire to help reduce the chances of wildfire damage.

Wildfire doesn’t have to burn everything in its path. In fact, cleaning your property of debris and maintaining your landscaping are important first steps. There are additional actions homeowners can take now to reduce the risk of homes and property becoming fuel for a wildfire:

  • Clear leaves and other debris from gutters, eaves,      porches and decks. This prevents embers from igniting your home.
  • Create a “fuel-free” area within five feet of the home,      using non-flammable landscaping materials such as rocks, pavers and/or      high-moisture content annuals and perennials.
  • Remove dead vegetation from under your deck and within      10 feet of the house.
  • Remove flammable materials (firewood stacks, propane      tanks, dry vegetation) within 30 feet of your home’s foundation and      outbuildings, including garages and sheds. If it can catch fire, don’t let      it touch your house, deck or porch.
  • If you have trees on your property, prune so the lowest      branches are 6 to 10 feet from the ground.
  • Don’t let debris and lawn cuttings linger. Dispose of      these items quickly to reduce fuel for fire.
  • Keep your lawn hydrated and maintained. Dry grass and      shrubs are fuel for wildfire.

Learn more about how to keep your family safe and reduce your home’s risk for wildfire damage on the Firewise website.

Firewise is a key program and a part of the overall Fire Adapted Communities (FAC) initiative that encourages everyone in a community, including homeowners, firefighters, land managers, and civic leaders to learn their role and work together to prepare in advance of a wildfire threat.  More information about FAC and how homeowners can play an important role in reducing wildfire damage to homes and property, can found at: www.fireadapted.org.

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press.

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