DENVER (KDVR) — As wildfire risk grows in Colorado neighborhoods, there are easy steps you can take to create a defensible space around your home and be prepared for evacuations.
The Colorado State Forest Service out of the CSU Warner School of Natural Resources provides staffing for the Division of Forest Services out of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. CSFS has tips on some easy steps homeowners can take to lower wildfire risk.
For its nine steps to protect your home and be prepared for wildfires, CSFS starts with raking pine needles and dry leaves.
“It’s important to clarify that the most important place in which this should be prioritized is on the home itself, whether it’s the roof, the gutters, the decks or directly adjacent to the home within the five feet non-combustible zone,” said Daniel Beveridge with CSFS.
Moving things like lawn furniture and especially propane tanks or fuel from underneath a deck to a safer storage space away from the home helps, along with moving any firewood uphill at least 30 feet away.
“Generally fire will travel more rapidly uphill,” Beveridge said. “So by having that concentrated fuel source above where your home is, there’s less likelihood that there will be an influx of convective and radiant heat up towards the home.”
Covering exposed vents on the eaves of your home with a metal mesh screen is critical to prevent embers from getting sucked up into the home, potentially starting fires inside, according to Beveridge.
The final tips are focused around making sure you’re giving first responders the best information to respond, like having a clear address that can be identified from the street.
“It’s important for viewers to recognize that it might not be your local fire department that’s responding to a wildfire in your local area,” Beveridge said. “It could be other agencies that came in to support form out of state.”
Signing up for regional emergency alert systems can give you a good heads up for everything from wildfire conditions in your neighborhood or county, to evacuations. Making an alternate route out of your neighborhood can also be crucial in the event your typical way out is blocked.
“It’s critically important to have at least two ways out,” Beveridge. “We never really know how a fire will start and the way it will behave.”