Protect Your Property From Wildfires

May 31, 2014

Colorado wildfireWhere would you go if a wildfire started near Copper Mountain?

At today's (May 31, 2014) Wildfire Preparedness and Education Fair at Summit High, Summit County law enforcement officials, first responders and firefighters will explain local evacuation routes, and offer detailed tips on how to ensure your safety in the worst-case disaster scenario. Learn what to bring in an emergency kit, and how to make sure your pets are OK. You'll also learn where to tune in for critical emergency information during a disaster.

Along with the fair, Summit County Office of Emergency Management will be conducting a wildfire response exercise throughout the county May 31. Responders will be going door-to-door in the Peak 7 area and conducting an evacuation survey. Expect to see multiple agencies participating with law and fire activity throughout the county including CMC campus in Breckenridge. Devices simulating smoke will be utilized to create realism for first responders.  
SCAlert messaging will be utilized to test the SCAlert emergency notification system. The electronic alerts are a critical part of Summit County's emergency communications, and residents, along with visitors, are encouraged to sign up.

For more information, contact Tracy LeClair at (970)389-2475 or [email protected].

It's tough to think about wildfires when the creeks are overflowing and when there's lush green grass sprouting from every nook and cranny. But just a few weeks of hot and dry weather will once again raise the threat of wildfires in the high country. The best way to protect your property is to take care of it yourself but clearing brush and dead trees, and following other common sense measures.

If you're not sure what those steps are, you're in luck, because the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District once again this spring is offering free reviews for Summit County residents.

 “As we have seen repeatedly throughout Colorado and across the West, defensible space is the single biggest factor as to whether a home survives a wildfire,” said LDFR Chief Dave Parmley. “We strongly encourage all residents and property owners to trim back trees and vegetation to appropriate distances; clear their roofs and gutters of pine needles and debris; and take steps to prepare themselves and their families for the possibility of a wildfire.”

The courtesy reviews, which typically last about an hour and include a walk around the property, are aimed at existing developed properties, and the recommendations are purely voluntary and will not be documented or made available to insurance companies.

“Increasingly, insurance companies are requiring property owners to create adequate defensible space around their homes, and this courtesy review can give you some direction as to how that’s done,” Parmley said. “Any one thing you can do to protect your home better from wildfire may be the one thing that saves it from being destroyed.”

Homeowners may call (970) 262-5209 to schedule a free defensible-space review by LDFR staff. Neighbors, homeowners’ associations and civic organizations also are encouraged to coordinate joint reviews of adjacent properties or arrange free presentations on the merits and principles of defensible space.

Among the topics covered in a defensible-space review are:

  • Personal preparation, including reviewing insurance coverage, documenting valuable items, preparing an evacuation kit and making copies of vital documents and irreplaceable photographs to be stored elsewhere.
  • Landscaping and vegetation management, as well as debris cleanup and storing combustible materials properly on a property.
  • How to minimize the collection and intrusion of potentially destructive flying embers, even from a wildfire that is some distance away.
  • Specific steps, tailored to the property, that a homeowner can take to “harden” a home against the threat of wildfire.


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