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The science of wildfire mitigation: Researchers sharing info in Southern Colorado

Posted at 7:14 PM, Jan 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-11 21:14:11-05

SOUTHERN COLORADO — Some of the nation’s best wildfire mitigation scientists are in Southern Colorado meeting with the state’s top fire prevention leaders.

We've been asked to come and present some information to the fire commission because we have some great science-based answers,” said Chief Engineer for the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), Anne Cope

The researchers who are funded by the insurance industry will be sharing information about a program developed from their research called Wildfire Prepared Home.

“Where we can make our buildings better able to withstand the things that Mother Nature is throwing at them in a cost-effective way,” said Cope, “And we do that by testing out the different ways in our laboratory.

Data gathered in the field goes back to labs in South Carolina.

It is used to test theories and find better ways to protect homes from wildfire.

Video on the IBHS website shows some of the elaborate experiments.

In one burning embers are blown toward a house built inside a controlled environment.

“What lights 90% or so of the structures that are sadly lost in a wildfire are those embers, those firebrands that come across in the wind and can go for more than a mile,” said Cope, "So the risk is far greater than the fire front.”

It shows that things like ember-resistant vents, also a five-foot buffer between your house and flammable material make a difference.

“The science is brutally clear that there are things that you can do right now in your own backyard to make your home more resilient,” said Cope, “They are not that expensive, and you can do them.”

“We think this is the next step toward that shared goal that we have with local community programs, fire officials, and the insurance industry to all align,” said Rocky Mountain Insurance Association, Executive Director, Carole Walker.

The IBHS scientist were invited to Colorado for a face-to-face meeting with Colorado Fire Commission leaders to discuss possible ways of implementing the Wildfire Prepared Home program.

“To really make sure we're asking our policyholders our insurance consumers to do the things that we know the science says works,” said Walker.

She says it is first about protecting life and property, but also to help keep homeowners insurance available and more affordable.

Cope said, “We're bringing forward cost-effective, doable things that people can take control of and make their own town better.

Learn more at https://wildfireprepared.org/
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