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Wildfire Preparedness: Make a Risk Assessment, Mitigation Strategy, and Evacuation Plan

| 3/28/2016 9:16:00 AM

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Wildfire is our greatest threat living in the mountains with all the dead vegetation and dead trees providing fuel. Here in Southern Colorado, where population density is less and forest growth is thick, sensible people plan ahead to mitigate wildfire risk. There is an abundance of information available for the concerned homesteader by putting "wildfire mitigation" into your search engine. Here are some tips I have learned through the years.

Firefighting Risks

At our remote location, we still have 18 inches of snow on the ground and just had our first red flag alert, which means conditions are right for a potential wildfire. Sometimes these alerts catch you by surprise, and this one caused us to take inventory to see if any last-minute details were required to mitigate for wildfire.

Any wildfire at this time of year, when our lakes are still frozen, limit available water sources to fight a wildfire. With this much snow still on the ground, it also makes getting defensible fire fighting lines established.

It is hard enough for firefighters to carry 50-60 pounds of equipment into the mountain terrain under normal conditions, but when 18 inches of snow is present, it makes it not only harder, but hazardous for them.

Wildfire Characteristics

The time to mitigate for wildfire is now, even though conditions may be less than favorable. When a wildfire does occur, this is perhaps the worst time to fight it, which is why it is advisable to have tree limbs trimmed where there is no fuel to feed any fire.

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