A long wet season makes fire mitigation seem like a distant concern. While afternoon thunderstorms and springtime snows may calm fears about fire, preparedness is still important. Fire mitigation remains an important way to protect your Colorado home. We have several tips to get you started.
Using care with your home can help prevent fire damage. If you are having your roof replaced, look at materials carefully. Some roofing materials will be more fire resistant than others. Metal roofs are obviously the most resistant, but even some different shingles will provide some resistance to flying embers.
If you are looking at updating the exterior of your home, take a look at materials that provide additional fire resistance. Stucco, metal, and fiber cement board are all known for their protective qualities. Enclose overhangs and eaves to prevent embers and heat from getting trapped in the event of a fire. Keep your chimney and vents clean, and look at ways to keep falling embers or fire out. Spark arrestor caps and metal inserts can keep both your chimney and your vents protected.
Outside your home
Keep gasoline and other flammable chemicals away from your home. Remove debris from around your home, whether it be rubbish on the side of the house or old wood piles on the deck. Use caution with mulching material near the home, as some of it can actually act almost like tinder in a fire situation. Avoid planting shrubbery or trees too close to the home. Branches should not touch your home or be within eight to ten feet of the exterior, and trees should not be closer than eight to ten feet from each other. Be vigilant about removing any dead or diseased landscaping or trees. Try to keep grass around the home mowed to lower than four inches.
Defensible space around your home
Guidelines were recently changed for what is considered defensible space around your home. Defensible space increased from thirty feet to one hundred feet, and figuring out how to keep this space clear will drastically increase your home’s chances in the event of a wildfire.
Keep trees to a minimum within thirty feet of your home. Remove lower tree limbs to lessen the chances of fire jumping from tree to tree. Create ample space between shrubbery and plantings to prevent fire from spreading. Remove any piles of debris, old wood, or any items that might be flammable.
When you begin to mitigate for all of these risks, remember that your insurance company can also be an excellent resource. Some insurance companies will even provide a list of steps to take, or an evaluation of your property. Several excellent websites exist to help with fire prevention, such as www.firewise.org and http://csfs.colostate.edu/wildfire-mitigation/. Every step you take will help to ensure that your home is protected in the event of a wildfire.