Over the past two decades, frequent, large, destructive wildfires have claimed hundreds of thousands of acres of land, damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes and structures, caused deaths and injuries and displaced residents for extended periods of time. With continued development throughout the state’s Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas, estimated to grow by 300 percent in the next 15 years, the wildfire threat is real and it is not going away. Project Wildfire is designed to reduce and/or prevent the destruction of land, property and lives by raising awareness and educating residents throughout our state.
Homeowners can take steps to protect their property and help alleviate the spread of wildland fires. Many Coloradans living in the foothills in ponderosa and lodgepole forests need to consider the fire-prone nature of these ecosystems.
Below are some tools to help alleviate the spread of wildland fires:
Due to Colorado’s arid climate and fire-dependent forests, many homeowners and landowners may be particularly vulnerable to wildfires. It is important to keep this threat in mind when buying or building a home.
Fire is unpredictable. If there are weaknesses in your home’s fire protection scheme, fire can gain the upper hand because of some overlooked or seemingly inconsequential factor. By creating wildfire-defensible zones, homes are less vulnerable from this naturally occurring phenomenon and the chance of spreading wildfires is greatly reduced. Learn more from the links below or visit the Colorado State University by clicking here.
International Association of Fire Chief’s RSG Program
USDA Forest Service
U.S. Dept. of the Interior
U.S. Fire Administration
Colorado State University
While there are many tools available to help educate people about Wildfire prevention and the ways to reduce your risk, Colorado REALTORS® strongly believe in tapping into the numerous local programs and fire prevention resources available in communities throughout the state as the most up-to-date, geographically-focused information available to Colorado residents. Through our Project Wildfire Program, Colorado REALTORS® are working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across our state to bring education and awareness, as well as access to resources directly to residents in their local communities.
Wildfire Partners: When Lester Karplus moved to the mountains near Nederland, Colorado he knew it was a matter of “when not if” his log home would be in the path of a wildfire. That day arrived in July 2016 when the Cold Springs Fire forced 1,900 residents to flee “100-foot” flames on a moment’s notice. While eight neighboring homes burned, Karplus’ home and seven others in the path of the fire survived — all participating in Wildfire Partners, Boulder County’s community wildfire mitigation program that provides homeowners with a comprehensive on-site property risk assessment that includes step-by-step mitigation needs, resources, a consumer-help line and follow-up inspections. The result – a coveted “Wildfire Partners Certified” yard sign and reduced wildfire risk. Many insurance companies accept Wildfire Partners assessment to meet their mitigation requirements. Karplus says homeowners buying in wildfire-prone areas need to ask themselves: “Are we willing to be caretakers of the land?” If the answer is yes, they must understand the inevitable risk of living with wildfire and the long-term commitment needed to protect their property. For more information: wildfirepartners.org.
REALFire®: After living in his Beaver Creek condominium for two decades, Michael Benge purchased a home on the mountain and knew it was a “no brainer” to evaluate necessary fire mitigation work — both in terms of creating defensible space around his new home, as well as fire-resistive materials in new construction. Benge
was thrilled to learn from his HOA that he could receive a free, on-site wildfire risk
property assessment through the REALFire® program, thanks to support from Eagle
County, the Vail Board of REALTORS®, and other local partners.
Benefits of the REALFire® program include:
• Residents engage directly with local mitigation professionals to learn about local wildfire risk.
• Residents can earn a REALFire® certificate of recognition, which they can use to enhance real estate transactions or share with local insurance providers.
• Qualifying residents may be eligible for an income tax subtraction for mitigation work performed on their property.
• Assessments identify specific actions proven to reduce wildfire risk on a property.
Benge believes homeowners throughout WUI communities would benefit by taking advantage of the voluntary opportunities to become more educated on wildfire risk, and the available mitigation resources to enhance the beauty of their property and invest in the safety and value of their home. Resources: REALFire.net
(November 26, 2018) Half of Coloradans Now Live in Areas at Risk to Wildfires: The number of people living in areas at risk to the effects of wildland fire increased by nearly 50 percent from 2012 to 2017, based on new Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment data released this week by the Colorado State Forest Service. As of 2017, approximately 2.9 million people live in Colorado’s wildland-urban interface (WUI) – the area where human improvements are built close to, or within, natural terrain and flammable vegetation – compared to 2 million people just five years earlier. The new figure represents approximately half of the state’s total population. >> MORE
(October 5, 2018) REALTORS® JOIN FORCES WITH INSURANCE AND WILDFIRE SAFETY ORGANIZATIONS TO OFFER PREPAREDNESS GUIDE FOR RESIDENTS: With one of the most destructive wildfire seasons in state history burning homes and endangering communities, the Colorado Association of REALTORS® (CAR) has teamed up with the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA) and other state wildfire prevention and insurance stakeholders to create a consumer-focused Colorado Property and Insurance Wildfire Preparedness Guide. >>MORE
(June 3, 2018) What to do when you’re put on pre-evacuation notice for a wildfire? As summer kicks in, more and more wildfires are popping up across Colorado. >>MORE
(March 19, 2018) Fighting Fire With Knowledge. Broker-owner Bonnie Smith uses political advocacy and education to protect Colorado homes from wildfires and strengthen her market. >>MORE
(July 13, 2017)West Region Wildfire Council offers fire risk property checks. MONTROSE – With fire danger lurking, there is a way to protect your home if you live in the Montrose-Delta area. >>MORE
(June 12, 2017) Consumer Advisory: Preparing for the 2017 wildfire season. DENVER – In April, Colorado’s Division of Fire Prevention and Control issued its 2017 wildfire outlook for the state.>> MORE
(June 8, 2017) The Importance of fire mitigation despite favorable forecast. DENVER — Colorado wildland firefighters are preparing for what is forecasted to be an average or possibly even below average wildfire season. >> MORE
(September 14, 2016) The Summit Association of REALTORS (SAR) Awards Defensible Space Grants. SAR has long been committed to residential fire mitigation efforts. Now it’s time to up its game. “Our board decided to take the next step,” said Sarah Thorsteinson, the CEO of SAR. “Instead of educating we decided to assist.” >>MORE
(July 20, 2016) US Forest Service Praises homeowner’s defensible space while the Beaver Creek Fire is now almost 35,000 acres. >>MORE
REALTORS launch push for wildfire mitigation education in Evergreen (August 6, 2015): Alex Gulledge uses chainsaw on a pole to remove low hanging branches while doing fire mitigation at a home in Pine, Colorado on July 28, 2015. Local fire officials along with the Colorado and mountain area associations of realtors want to educate homeowners on how to properly mitigate private property against wildfire damage. >>MORE
Study Shows People Are Aware of Wildfire Danger (August 3, 2015): People living in areas at high risk for wildfires are aware of the danger but underestimate the peril when compared with firefighting professionals, according to a new study led by a University of Colorado researcher. >>MORE
Colorado Association of REALTORS® Launches Colorado Project Wildfire (July 28 2015): Consumer education and awareness program designed to help reduce and prevent destruction of land, property, and lives from wildfires. >>MORE
Summit County Set to Start Summer Chipping Program (June 29 2015): Summit County’s wood chipping program is set to go, with crews coming out to neighborhoods starting June 29. Crews will make two sweeps through each neighborhood between June and October, picking up piles of unwanted slash from the curb. >>MORE
Fire Crews Prepare For Average, Above Average Wildfire Season (April 2015): Wildfire experts are predicting that Colorado will experience an average to above average wildfire season this year. They need aerial support to attack fires and limit damage. That requires training. About a dozen agencies gathered at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora on Friday morning to participate in aerial wildfire training. That training happens about once a year. >>MORE
Wildfire season starts slow for 2nd year in a row (April 2015): Western wildfires have always been shape-shifting beasts, roaring to life wherever there is hot and dry weather, wind and fuel. But last year’s relatively cool and wet summer brought relief to parts of the region — including Colorado — that had been especially hard the previous few years. >>MORE
Stay up-to-date on wildfire issues
View this interactive map to get an idea of your risk.
Colorado REALTORS® are working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations across our state to bring education and awareness, as well as access to resources directly to residents in their local communities.