12 Tips to Minimize Wildfire Damage in Western Colorado
Wildfires in Western Colorado are challenging events to keep at bay. However, you can help minimize the chances of wildfires around your home.
Reduce as many fuels and sources of ignition as possible within a 75 foot radius of your home to minimize wildfire damage. Increase the distance if your home is on a slope. You can do this by thinning out surrounding trees, cutting down dry grass, removing shrubs and small trees, and making sure you have no tree branches overhanging your home.
Make sure there is access to your home. Firetrucks cannot access your house if they have to cross weak bridges or narrow driveways and roads. Make sure help can get to you. Also having readily visible and reflective address numbers at the entrance of your home from the main road will help emergency personnel find your home in an emergency.
Remember to install an emergency water supply if you don’t already have one. This can be a fire hydrant or well with a pump. Just be sure it is visible and accessible to the firefighters!
Choose fire resistant plants to minimize fire damage in Western Colorado. These types of plants normally grow close to the ground, can be drought tolerant, and don’t accumulate many dead branches or needles. Most flowers and bushes with waxy leaves are often fire resistant. Cacti and succulents are also good options when it comes to landscaping.
Choose or change out construction materials that are fire resistant. Asphalt shingles or metal roofing can help minimize wildfire damage. Using materials resistant to fire such as brick, stone, or stucco is also helpful.
Design any decks with a fire resistant material. Materials include concrete, composite board, or fire-retardant treated wood. Also do not store flammable materials under your deck. It is best to close off the area under your deck with fire resistant materials to prevent embers from entering that space and igniting your home.
Ensure your home’s smoke detectors are functional. It’s important to maintain them by cleaning and testing your smoke detector often.
Think about getting a fire extinguisher or two to further minimize wildfire damage. If you have one, make sure to test them every few years to make sure they are still effective.
While the safety of your home and property is important, your family’s safety is even more important!
If a wildfire gets out of control, make sure you have a plan to exit your house and neighborhood. Also make sure you have a way to get out of an upper story if you have one.
If you see a fire coming, prepare yourself first then your home second. Wear clothes that cover your whole body to minimize burns. Get yourself to safety. Then, when you are safe, take care of your home and call 911.
If it’s necessary to evacuate remember to protect yourself from smoke inhalation. If you have to travel through an area with dense smoke protect your breathing passageways by covering your mouth and nose with a wet bandana or t-shirt.
If your property is well prepared, a wildfire may pass over your home and just burn the surrounding area. What do you do when the fire passes?
Check your home (especially the attic and roof) for any burning embers. Don’t enter your home until you’re sure it’s safe.
Continue to check around your property for any embers or burning.