This year is shaping up to be a dry one with increased risks of wildfires across the Colorado Front Range. As homeowners, we bear a great deal of responsibility to protect our property, our belongings, and ourselves.
How You Can Protect Home, Property and Forests
Coloradans living in the foothills in ponderosa and lodgepole forests need to consider the fire-prone nature of these ecosystems. Due to Colorado’s arid climate and fire-dependent forests, the Colorado State Forestry Service (CSFS) recommends that homeowners create wildfire-defensible zones(see CSFS Quick Guide). Custom Homes in Colorado are less vulnerable to the chance of spreading wildfires by reducing the amount of vegetation, pine needles, etc. from gutters and around the home.
The Home Ignition Zone
Two factors have emerged as the primary determinants of a home’s ability to survive a wildfire – quality of the defensible space around the home (mentioned above) and the home’s structural ignitability.
Together, these two factors create a concept called the Home Ignition Zone (HIZ), which includes the structure and the space immediately surrounding the structure. To protect a home from wildfire, the primary goal is to reduce or eliminate fuels and ignition sources within the HIZ.
Defensible space is the area around a home or other structure that has been modified to reduce fire hazard. In this area, natural and manmade fuels are treated, cleared or reduced to slow the spread of wildfire. Creating defensible space also works in the reverse, and reduces the chance of a structure fire spreading to neighboring homes or the surrounding forest. Defensible space gives a home a fighting chance against an approaching wildfire.
Creating an effective zoned defensible space involves a series of management zones in which different treatment techniques are used. Develop these zones around each building on the property, including detached garages, storage buildings, barns and other structures (see Defensible Space Checklists).
The ideal time to address home ignition risk is when the structure is in the design phase. However, you can still take steps to reduce ignitability to an existing home or building.
For instance, it is important to choose a fire-resistant roofing material that is rated class C or higher when building a house in, or near, forests or grasslands. Avoid flammable materials such as wood or shake shingles. For more information on appropriate roofing materials and other fire-resistant building designs and materials, see CSFS publication FireWise Construction: Site Design & Building Materials.
Are You FireWise?
As Coloradans, it is our responsibility to be fire wise and implement best practices. Be aware of current fire danger levels as well as fire ban restrictions for your local area. For additional information on FireWise best practices for your home and property, visit the Colorado State Forest Service.
About Jayden Homes: Locally owned for three decades, Jayden Homes builds custom homes across the Colorado Front Range including El Paso, Douglas, and Elbert Counties. Offering custom homes in Colorado Springs and surrounding areas, our open concept homes are designed and built with fire safe best practices and to maximize views and livability of the homesite. An award-winning Colorado Springs Custom Home Builder, Jayden Homes is a member of the Colorado Springs Housing and Building Association and an accredited member of the Colorado Springs Better Business Bureau. Jayden Homes. New Memories Coming Soon.