COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Fire Department works hard to educate our community on how we can protect our homes and help mitigate wildfires. They ask homeowners to take several steps that will help protect their property and make the job of local firefighters easier.
Hazardous materials, such as conifers and junipers should not be planted within fifteen feet of your home. These trees have a high oil and resin content, and they will burn extremely hot and fast. They ask homeowners to create fifteen feet of clearance from tree branches to their roofline, but they realize that 15 feet isn't always possible.
“The goal is to obtain as much clearance as possible, while still maintaining the health of the tree. So, another thing that homeowners can do is, they can trim up the bottom of their trees, as well as prune the limbs. So, that way if there is a grass fire, those lower dead branches won’t be able to act as latter fuels into the canopy of the trees,” said Melissa Hoffman, Wildfire Mitigation Program Coordinator with the Colorado Springs Fire Department.
Other steps include purchasing hardening features, such as stucco siding on a house, raking leaves and needles, covering gutters, and making sure there are one to three feet of rock out in front of your house. They do not recommend having mulch.
The city also offers a Neighborhood Chipping Program, which they recommend residents sign up for.
“Our tag line here is, “Sharing the Responsibility.” So, if homeowners can do their part on the front end, with signing up for the chipping program, getting their materials removed from their property, then again, it is much easier for firefighters to do their job, in the case that there is a wildfire event,” said Hoffman.
If you sign up for the chipping programs, members of the fire department will come to your property and give you pointers on how you can reduce your fire risk. It’s a free service but there are steps you need to take if you want to sign up for the chipping program.
Chipping takes place during a predetermined week in each neighborhood. For a list of those weeks, and for more information on how you can sign up visit the Colorado Springs Fire Department page, you can locate that page here.