Keep Your House Safe from Wildfires | Colorado | Front Range Arborists

Keep Your House Safe from Wildfires

The risk of wildfire is a constant threat in Colorado.

Fires can be triggered by anything from lightning strikes to an untended campfire. Pine beetle proliferation, due to unusually warmer climate, has caused extensive damage to indigenous lodgepole pines. Consequently, diligent fire prevention and preparedness measures should be constant as well, throughout the year and in every area of your home.

Fire needs three things to burn: heat, oxygen, and fuel. The fuel comes in many forms that can be found on your property. The most effective means of fire mitigation is to remove those fuel sources that can potentially feed a fire from the space near your home. Any materials that could increase heat must be either treated or reduced, to mitigate their tendency to increase heat and threaten your home.

The objective of fire mitigation is to create a protective perimeter around a structure. This area will serve as a barrier, or defensible space, where an advancing fire can be slowed and will provide room for firefighting personnel to combat the fire. Much like a moat surrounding a castle, your defensible space offers a protective gap between your home and our common foe, the brush fire.

Fire mitigation techniques will greatly improve your family’s and your property’s chances of surviving a fire. In the event of a house fire, creating a defensible space will also help prevent the fire from spreading out of control. As a bonus, when you cultivate a fire-mitigating landscape outside, you’ll discover that it will also improve your home’s appearance and property value.

Survey the area around your home, look for places where a fire could reach your property. Examine the areas surrounding all structures, including outbuildings, detached garages, etc. Vegetation, including tree limbs, grass, and shrubs, even fallen leaves, will provide fuel for a fire. To form a defensible space around the buildings, you will need to create breaks in the vegetation adjacent to your home.

Fire Mitigation Strategy

Some simple steps you can take as a homeowner to keep your house safe from wildfires include:

  • Keeping your lawn mowed around the property.
  • Removing dead plants and other vegetation.
  • Keeping all firewood stored away from structures.
  • Clearing your gutters of fallen leaves and other flammable debris.
  • Clearing vegetation from the dripline of trees, to prevent them from becoming ladder fuel.

A comprehensive fire mitigation plan is your best defense against the ravages of wildfire. It also provides greater access for firefighting personnel and equipment. A solid plan will include 3 zones, working from the edge of your home and other buildings outward as follows:

Zone 1

The immediate area around your house and all other structures should be clear of all vegetation within a radius of about 15 feet. This will create a fuel-free barrier for firefighting and mitigation near your buildings. Keep the plants and shrubs near your home trimmed, watered and treated for a disease. Healthy vegetation is less apt to become fire fuel.

Zone 2

Moving out farther from the house to an additional 75-125 foot radius, depending on the slope of your property, the area should be cleared of any dead or unhealthy trees that may become fuel for a forest fire. All other trees should be thinned, maintaining a minimum distance of 10 feet between canopies, to limit the spread of fire. Tree limbs should be trimmed so there are no branches fewer than 15 feet from the ground.

Zone 3

Extending from the outer perimeter of Zone 2 to the property boundaries is Zone 3. This area should have unhealthy vegetation removed and have the proper spacing of healthy vegetation. This will assist in stemming the spread of disease as well as fire.

As winter approaches, it is important to keep vegetation properly watered, to prevent the dry season from killing plants near your home that could potentially fuel a fire. Preserve the look and health of your landscape while limiting the risk of fire with winter water applications.

Soaker hoses or soil needles can provide a measured source of water for vegetation, to preserve its health, while also minimizing the fire hazard dry landscaping presents.

We Specialize in Fire Mitigation

Front Range Arborists is a tree and shrub care service, privately and locally owned in Colorado Springs. We share our neighbors’ love of all the nature this wondrous place we call home provides. We also recognize the challenges in the stewardship of the land on which we live.

We provide full tree and shrub service in the Colorado Springs area, including fire mitigation, pruning, pest control and a winter water program. We do free estimates for home and business owners in our service area. If you need assistance with fire mitigation, tree pruning or removal on your property, call us for a consultation with a professional arborist today. We will help you create a fire mitigation plan for your home or business.

Find out more about how Front Range Arborists can help provide services to residential, commercial, and municipal institutions with all of our Tree Services: