Larimer County is one of six Front Range counties recognizing October as Wildfire Awareness month. Boulder, Clear Creek, Douglas, El Paso and Jefferson counties have joined with Larimer County to help educate residents and promote action to reduce the frequency and severity of future wildfires along the Front Range. Larimer County is ranked as one of the most hazardous counties in the state with respect to wildland fire.
In joining with the other counties, Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith stated, “After the events of this summer, Wildfire Awareness month is a good opportunity for everyone to make sure they have taken all the steps necessary to protect their home as much as possible from future fires.”
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An emergency evacuation plan is one of the most important ways to prepare for a wildfire. The plan should include a designated emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area, several different escape routes from your home and community and an evacuation plan for pets and large animals such as horses and other livestock. A family communication plan that designates an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact to act as a single source of communication among family members in case of separation should also be part of your evacuation plan.
Creating a defensible space around your home and outbuildings, establishing an emergency water supply and providing adequate, well marked access to your property are some of the top actions homeowners can take to reduce their risk.
Creating a defensible space will not make your home invulnerable to a fire, but it will improve the ability of firefighters to safely protect it and will improve its ability to survive a low intensity wildfire in the absence of firefighter intervention. This does not mean your landscape has to be barren. Planting fire-resistant trees, shrubs and vegetation is possible.
There should be no flammable vegetation within 15 feet of a structure. Trees should be thinned to have 10 to 12 feet crown spacing. Dry grass and weeds should be mowed to a height of six inches or less within 30 feet of your home. Dead limbs, leaves and other ground litter should be removed and the roof and gutters should be cleaned of pine needles and leaves.
A complete list of mitigation techniques and additional wildfire safety information and resources can be found at www.co.larimer.co.us/wildfire .
We encourage Larimer County citizens to join other residents along the Front Range in making your home as safe as possible in the event of a fire and be prepared with an evacuation plan.