Are you FireWise?

With recent events in the county and around the state, a lot of us are wondering whether if “the big one” comes to our valley, will we be ready for it?

The Colorado high country is coming out of one of the worst winters in recent years. Combine that with an extremely dry spring and it is the perfect formula for a busy fire season. Eagle and Vail’s continuing urban sprawl into the mountain regions puts our homes and our lives at more risk to fires, and the threat of fire is a real concern.

Here are six basic Firewise actions: 1) Keep your roof clear of leaves, needles and debris. 2) Plant drought tolerant plants within 5 ft of the house. 3) Remove debris buildup on and under decks. 4) Keep your woodpile away from structures. 5) Thin and prune coniferous trees within 70 ft of the house. 6) Keep the grass mowed around the house.

Photo source: Colorado State Forest Service

Eagle, Summit, Garfield and Pitikin county have joined the rest of southern and western Colorado by implementing the first round of fire restrictions. What does that mean? It means you can no longer have a campfire outside of designated fire rings. Rock fire rings do not qualify. Only fire rings within designated campgrounds are allowed. You can still have a fire in your backyard if it is contained to a chiminea or fire pit. Propane grills are allowed while camping and at your home. What you can’t do is smoke unless it is in an enclosed vehicle or building, at a developed recreation site, or in an area at least 3 feet in diameter of barren or cleared ground. Dirt bikes, ATV, chainsaws, and any other small engine must have an approved spark arrestor installed. Fireworks are also banned at this time. Below is a chart the Eagle County Sheriff’s office released.

There are numerous resources we can use to help become informed and take the steps necessary to make your home fire ready. Locally our County Wildfire Mitigation Manager, Eric Lovgren, is presenting a series of community preparedness meetings throughout the valley to help educate us on the “Ready, Set, Go!” initiative. Dates are:

June 18-6-8:30 pm at West Vail Fire Station in Vail, hosted by Eagle River Fire Protection District and Vail Fire and Emergency Services
June 22 1:40-3 pm at St. Clare of Assisi Church in Edwards, Hosted in Spanish by Catholic Charities

Ready, Set, Go! Is a wildfire action planning program aimed at involving the homeowner early on in protecting their property from the threat of wildfire. Visit their website here for more information. Another great source is the National Fire Protection Agency.

Eagle County is also encouraging home owners to contact local fire agency for an assessment on creating a defensible space around their homes. Once you have a plan in place Old Growth Tree Service can help you follow the plan to help protect your home.

Thanks for reading and let’s hope the monsoon rains come soon!

24 Hour Emergency Service