Wildfire risk mitigation and living in the foothills

Wildfire risk mitigation and living in the foothills

It's not if, it's when.

Has your insurance company sent out someone to inspect your property for wildfire risk yet?  Don't relax if the answer is no.  If you live in a high wildfire risk WUI (wildland urban interface), and if you're reading this the chances are very high that you already do or are considering it, either your property or your wallet will be impacted very soon. Check your address here: https://co-pub.coloradoforestatlas.org/#/

Several neighbors in the Willow Springs, Willowbrook, Ken Caryl, and Deer Creek Canyon communities are already being told their properties are no longer insurable by carriers that they've worked with for decades, unless the owners immediately take risk mitigation efforts. In our Morrison / Willow Springs community just west of 470, we've had several close calls with small fires in the Open Space between us and Tiny Town, and been very fortunate that the winds calmed allowing the local West Metro firefighters to take quick control. 

But many have taken those fortunate weather conditions and brave actions of our first responders for granted, incorrectly believing that our professional fire crews will always be able to save our homes in the event of another fire. This is quite simply a false sense of security that I have been guilty of in the past. After the Snow Creek Fire came so close to overtaking several Willow Springs North homes a few years ago, it got me researching wildfire risks and mitigation, so much that I became certified as a Wildfire Mitigation Specialist with the NFPA (not an easy test - I failed on my first attempt). One of the most eye-opening facts I learned is how fire fighters quickly assess homes in the path of a fire front. A home and property that have been left to grow wild, with no mitigation efforts at all is quickly labeled "Check and Go", meaning check for occupants but declare to all that the home is "Non-Defensible." Do not be fooled by pride of your expensive home - first responders priorities are to save your life (and their own), not your home. The category you will hope your home looks like from a quick drive by is "Prep and Defend", meaning some preparation of the property has already occurred and leaving resources on site to further prepare and make a stand against the fire front makes strategic sense. Remember, firefighters WILL NOT risk their lives to save your property, especially if you haven't lifted one finger to protect it yourself first. 

Also important to remember is that it's usually not the fire front that ignites homes, it's the embers traveling over a mile searching for pine needles and leaves on a roof, or mulch and wood fencing up against a home. Wildfire mitigation isn't about cutting down all your trees, it's about intelligently prepping your home and property so that a small fire doesn't turn into a home engulfing fire that will then move down the block making firefighting and structure defense impossible.

For more information on how to begin defending your home before the insurance company or state laws start to mandate it, below are several great resources to start acting on today.

Harden Your Home - www.rotarywildfireready.com

Low Flammability Landscape plants - https://extension.colostate.edu/low-flammability-landscape-plants/

Colorado Property & Insurance Guide - https://ibhs.org/wildfireready/

The Home Ignition Zone - https://csfs.colostate.edu/wildfire-mitigation/home-ignition-zone-checklists/


Or call us, we are passionate about this subject, certified and knowledgeable, and always willing to help our neighbors. 

Wildfire risk mitigation and living in the foothills

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