What is fire mitigation and why is it important?
Fire mitigation is a process to reduce the risk of wildfire to your home. As Colorado residents, fire mitigation is imperative as we face arid summers with periods of drought, which are ideal conditions for wildfires. Fire mitigation is a personal responsibility we all take on to protect not only our own homes and property but our environment as well. In the last 10 years, Colorado Springs has experienced some of the worst wildfires in history, such as the Waldo Canyon fire in 2012 which covered 18,247 acres, and the Black Forest fire in 2013 which covered 14,280 acres. Often homes that survive fires are ones that are properly mitigated. With our history of wildfires, fire mitigation in Colorado Springs should be on every homeowner’s mind especially those who live in high-risk areas such as Black Forest, Palmer Park and the Wildland Urban Interface (or WUI, located on the west side of Colorado Springs at the base of the mountains).
What we can do to reduce wildfire risk:
As a homeowner, we do everything we can to make sure our home is in working order so that we can protect our loved ones and our belongings. Below are 10 steps for fire mitigation in Colorado Springs:
- Create a defensible space around your home. We recommend at least 20-30 feet between structures and vulnerable vegetation
- Remove pine needles and leaves from rain gutters regularly
- Do not store combustible items on or under your deck such as firewood, gas or cleaning supplies
- Rake up leaves and pine needles especially those within 20 feet of your home
- Plant fire resistant species such as honeysuckle, maple and cherry trees – refer to our previous blog on fire resistant landscaping and plants for Colorado summers
- Keep your grass maintained to a maximum height of 4 inches and water as needed to keep it green and growing
- Include landscape designs that break up fuel continuity such as stone structures, walkways or decorative gravel. Do not plant combustible plants within 15 ft. of your structures
- Prune branches to 10 ft. above the ground, especially those that are dead or diseased
- Keep your address clearly marked and visible – in the event of a fire this helps firefighters find your home
- Consider installing Class-A roofing and fire-resistant siding and decking when working on home improvement projects
Managing costs of fire mitigation
Through local firefighters, FEMA and insurance companies, there are many grant program opportunities to keep the cost of fire mitigation services down. Depending on where you live and other personal factors, you could receive a financial support for fire mitigation. Below are three ways to receive aid for the cost of fire mitigation:
- Talk With Your Insurance Agent: Your insurance agent will be able to determine if you qualify to save up to 20% on your homeowners policy
- State Income Taxes: You can claim up to $2,500 on state income taxes
- Local Grant Opportunities: Call us to learn more about what may be available to you
We understand that planning for fire mitigation is not in everyone’s budget, so ask your insurance company or your neighborhood fire department for what options are available to you. If you have any questions on how you can save or additional details on fire mitigation services, please contact Timberline today.
Best Time To Perform Fire Mitigation
To ensure the best quality of service, we recommend conducting fire mitigation in Colorado Springs in the late fall through March when there are less active bark beetles. As we wrap up the summer and start heading into fall, we enter the active season for bark beetles. Tree removal during the active season is difficult for arborists as there are hundreds of beetles flying around the trees.
Contact Timberline Landscaping
Reducing the risk of wildfire can seem daunting for one person to manage. The experts at Timberline can offer support from tree removal and underbrush containment to offering consultation and design suggestions to break up fuel continuity. Our experts have a keen eye for fire mitigation and will work with you to ensure the safety of your home. Contact our team today for a consultation on our fire mitigation services at (719) 638-1000