Videos: What we've learned
From wildfires in Summit County, across Colorado and throughout the West, we have learned a lot of what works and what doesn't work when it comes to protecting homes and communities from wildfires. The biggest key is creating adequate "defensible space," or cutting back vegetation so that it doesn't carry fire from the wild forest to your home or give flying embers a receptive fuel to start a new fire on or near your home. Beyond that, we know that fire-resistant building materials such as Class-A roofing materials (well-fitted asphalt shingles, tile or metal roofs), non-combustible siding and synthetic decks and stairways all contribute to a home's fire resistance. "Home hardening" can be achieved by putting metal-mesh screens on the inside of attic and soffit vents, adding gutter guards and using non-combustible fencing within the 10 feet closest to the home. And don't forget routine seasonal maintenance such as keeping grasses mowed within the first 10 feet of buildings and above-ground propane tanks, sweeping away pine needles that accumulate in the valleys of roofs, in gutters and in catch areas created by L-shaped exterior walls, trimming lower branches of trees that could carry grass fires upwards, raking pine needles, leaves and other dead vegetation. For more lessons, see these videos.
Black Forest Fire
The Black Forest Fire near Colorado Springs was the most destructive fire in Colorado's history, claiming claimed two lives and destroying nearly 500 homes. Why did some neighborhoods survive and how do fire fighters determine which homes can be safely defended? This video by the Pikes Peak Wildfire Prevention Partners answers those questions.
Four times in four years, wind-fanned flames raced through Colorado neighborhoods in and at the edge of dying forests, killing people and breaking records for destruction. And because more than 100,000 people in the last decade have moved into "red-zone" areas primed for conflagration by a century of fire suppression, no one is sure that the devastating fires of 2012 and 2013 will not be repeated.