When it comes to living in the mountains in Colorado, fire is a real threat. There are a few important steps to take to protect your home. The key to fire prevention lies in the defensible space around your property. Defensible spaces create a buffer to prevent the spread of wildfires and allow firefighters to protect your home in the case of a wildfire. As a homeowner, there are many ways to improve the value of your home, and creating a defensible space will also make it safer. Fire prevention keeps your family and guests safe, and it's important to implement precautionary measures to protect real estate property value.
To create a defensible space around your home, detached garage, barn, storage buildings, and decks, clear a buffer space between the structures and your natural landscaping, trees, lawn and native grasses. The larger the buffer area free from fuel for fire around your home, the higher the chances your home will survive a wildfire. Remove fallen forest debris and leaves, pine needles, wood mulch, trash, junk, and anything that can burn from around your home each spring as soon as the snow melts. Wildfire season starts as soon as the grass dries, and a lightning strike can easily spark a fire.
Clear your roof and gutters of flammable debris. Ashes fly long distances from wildfires, and these quickly spark leaves in gutters to flame. Sweep pathways, patios, and driveways and rake your defensible space buffer area frequently to clear debris as it falls throughout the drier months. For low maintenance investments, add a stone pathway around your home, enlarge patio areas, and enlarge driveways. Wildfires happen year round in Colorado, so it's best to keep up with home maintenance and your defensible space.
If your property includes trees or bushes, make sure none are close to your home and be sure to leave space between them to reduce the spread of a fire. Regularly trim tree branches. Mow your grass and pull or trim weeds on a regular schedule to reduce fuel for a fire, especially on steep hills. Fire spreads faster on steep slopes when the wind whips the flames through the forest. If your lawn blends with the forest, create another buffer area or fire block, perhaps with a stone pathway around your property, which doubles as your own private hiking path.
Firefighters appreciate homeowners' fire prevention efforts because they help keep them safe. Saving houses from destruction is the firefighter's first priority during wildfires, and the defensible space you provide them allows them to defend your home, and your neighbors' homes, faster. As most fire departments in the mountains consist of volunteers from the local area, you are likely to have neighbors that are firefighters. It’s a good idea to talk with your neighbors and encourage them to create defensible spaces around their homes, too, and protect your mountain together.
Support or join your local volunteer fire department for further property defense, and know the fire danger in your area which changes depending on the weather. Contact us for more tips to create defensible spaces to prevent fires on your mountain property. As Smokey the Bear says, "Only you can prevent wildfires."
By Coldwell Banker