Press release: Summit County fire departments offer free defensible-space evaluations

SummitFireLogosFeature

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

1 June 2015

 

Contact:

 

Steve Lipsher, LDFR Public-Information Officer

Office: (970) 262-5209

Mobile: (970) 389-2967

 

Summit County fire departments offer free defensible-space evaluations

 

Summit County’s three fire departments once again are offering free wildfire “defensible space” evaluations to property owners and gladly will meet with homeowners’ associations and civic groups to ensure that the community is prepared for wildfire season.

Copper Mountain Fire, Lake Dillon Fire and Red, White & Blue Fire all offer the courtesy evaluations for developed property to ensure adequate “defensible space,” the safe envelope around a home that allows firefighters to make a stand against an encroaching wildfire and improve the chances that a home will survive without jeopardizing lives.

“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 Lake Dillon Fire 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 evaluations, 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 evaluation can give you some direction as to how that’s done,” said Red, White & Blue Fire District Deputy Chief Jay Nelson. “Any one thing you can do to protect your home better from wildfire may be the one thing that saves it from being destroyed.”

Among the topics covered in a defensible-space evaluation 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.

Homeowners may schedule a free defensible-space evaluation by contacting:

  • Copper Mountain Fire at (970) 333-3480;
  • Lake Dillon Fire at (970) 262-5209; or
  • Red, White & Blue Fire at (970) 453-2474 or mitigation@rwbfire.org.

“We’d like to encourage everyone to learn about the tenets of adequate defensible space, which can save not only property but also lives,” said Copper Mountain Fire Chief Gary Curmode. “Now is the time of year for property owners and residents to prepare for wildfire season.”

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