Saguache Today – April 26

WildFire Season Has Begun in Saguache Today

With wildfires burning homes and causing evacuations throughout Colorado this week – in addition to statewide snowpack levels being below normal, with much of southern Colorado under extreme drought conditions – the Colorado State Forest Service wants to remind homeowners living in the wildland-urban interface to prepare for wildfires before they arrive.

Saguache Today_Fremont Fire_Kim

Smoke from the Hayden Pass Fire in July 2016 could be seen on the other wide of the Sangre de Cristos in Saguache. Photo: Saguache Today/Kim Rodriquez

While there is no guarantee firefighters will be able to save a home from a wildfire, the odds increase if homeowners and communities take proactive steps to reduce their fire risk, says Lisa Mason, CSFS forestry education specialist.

“Fire risk reduction efforts are much more effective when neighbors work together to reduce hazardous fuels around their homes and throughout the community,” Mason said.

The CSFS offers numerous resources to help private landowners reduce wildfire risk, with specific recommendations including:

  • Remove all flammable vegetation within at least 15 feet of any part of a home or other structure, including decks.
  • Reduce the density of standing trees within 100-200 feet of all structures.
  • Ensure adequate access for fire and emergency equipment and be sure that the house number is posted and easily visible to emergency responders. 
  • Keep grasses and weeds surrounding the home mowed to a height of less than six inches, through regular and ongoing maintenance.
  • Regularly clear pine needles and leaves from gutters and decks, and trim overhanging branches.
  • Stack firewood and locate propane tanks at least 30 feet from and uphill of structures.
  • Have an evacuation plan and a designated meeting place that all family members are familiar with.
  • Prepare a “grab and go” disaster kit with necessary family/pet items including important documents/photos, clothing, medications, food/water, phone charger, etc. so you are ready for immediate departure.
  • Make sure that you are signed up for  the San Luis Valley 911 Emergency Alert Program.

“Remember that addressing wildfire risk is not a one-time effort, and that flammable vegetation grows back over time,” Mason said.

For more information and resources on protecting homes and communities from wildfire, including how to become a Firewise Community, visit csfs.colostate.edu/wildfire-mitigation or call a local CSFS field office.

The F provides professional forestry assistance, wildfire mitigation expertise and outreach and education to help landowners and communities achieve their forest management goals. The CSFS is a service and outreach agency of the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University and provides staffing for the Division of Forestry within the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. For more information, visit csfs.colostate.edu.

 

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