The extreme fire danger currently experienced in Colorado has prompted the U.S. Forest Service to close one of the most popular tourist destinations. The San Juan National Forest is closed, the first full closure of a national forest since 2002. As early as March of this year, the fire season outlook was concerning due to the low snow pack in Colorado mountains. Fire restrictions are currently in place in over one-third of the state. Homeowners are on high-alert for the possible outbreak of a catastrophic fire.
The first step to avoid losing your home is to use fire resistant material. The roof and exterior structure of your house should be constructed of non-combustible or fire-resistant materials such as fire-resistant roofing materials, tile, slate, sheet iron, aluminum, brick, or stone. Wood siding, cedar shakes, exterior wood paneling, and other highly combustible materials should be treated with fire retardant chemicals.
To maintain a defensible space around your home, clean roof surfaces and gutters routinely to avoid accumulation of flammable materials such as pine needles or dry leaves. Trim back portions of any tree or vegetation extending within 30 feet of the structure. Also skirt any tree so branches close to the ground are removed, preventing vertical spread of wildfire.
Prevention tips for avoiding the start of a wildfire include:
- Don’t mow or trim grass on windy days
- Ensure campfires are completely extinguished. Never leave a fire unattended.
- Never pull your vehicle over in dry grass
- Make sure cigarette butts are properly extinguished. Never toss cigarette butts out the car window.
- Off-road vehicles and chainsaws should be equipped with approved and recently updated spark arresters.
- Be careful with welding equipment, and any open flames outdoors