Community Preparedness

Historically, wildfire “seasons” were a four-month event in the middle of summer.  Today, the average core wildfire season is 78 days longer than in the 1970’s, with Colorado experiencing large fires every month of the year. 

Every year, wildfires burn across the United States, and a growing number of people are living where wildfires are a real risk. In 2018 more than 58,000 fires burned nearly nine million acres across the U.S. More than 25,000 structures were destroyed, including 18,137 residences and 229 commercial structures.

Residents who live in fire-prone areas must develop a plan and be prepared to live in fire adapted communities. Defensible space, structure hardening and family plans for a possible evacuation, including pets, should be part of living in the wildland-urban interface. Nearly 85% of wildfires are human-caused, we must do our part to prevent wildfires and protect our community​.

Wildfire Prevention Tip: Living in the WUI

Whether they live in a recognized Firewise USA® site or not, homeowners living in the WUI can do a number of practical activities to protect their home and property from wildfire while practicing social distancing. The Colorado State Forest Service recommends the following wildfire preparation activities:

  • Rake and remove pine needles and dry leaves 5 feet from the home, as well as under decks, porches, sheds and play structures.

  • Remove leaves and needles from roofs and gutters.

  • Sweep porches and decks clear of any burnable plant material.

  • Move firewood piles at least 30 feet from the house, preferably uphill.

  • Transfer items under decks or porches to a storage area.

  • Cover any exposed eave or attic vents with 1/8-inch metal mesh screening.

  • Ensure home address signs are clearly visible from the street.

  • Contact your local Office of Emergency Management to register for emergency notifications and encourage your friends, family and neighbors to do the same.

  • Confirm at least one alternate path out of your neighborhood other than the one most commonly used and be prepared for potential evacuation requiring the alternative route.

Wildfire Prevention Tip: Vehicle Safety

If you live in an area where wildfires are common- or are traveling through, consider the following...

  • Check tire lugnuts to ensure proper torque or tires can come off.

  • Grease trailer wheel bearings or they may overheat.

  • Improperly inflated tires or those in degraded condition may fail, causing the rim to drag and spark.

  • Don’t overload your trailer’s weight ratings, axles can bend and cause tire failure or the axle itself to fail.

  • Ensure trailer chains are not dragging on the ground.

  • Brakes worn too thin may cause metal to metal contact, which can cause a spark. Trailer brakes can also seize up and overheat.

  • Never park or drive over dry grass or brush.

  • Utility Vehicles (UTVs) and All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) can start wildfires.

  • Be sure to clean out any vegetation accumulated underneath and conduct regular maintenance.

  • Carry a fire extinguisher (ABC 10 lb. or larger), a shovel and extra water in your vehicle if you live in (or are traveling through) wildfire prone areas. These tools can make the difference by stopping a fire before it becomes a wildfire.

  • Extinguish all smoking materials and dispose of ashes and butts in trash receptacles for that purpose.

  • If a fire starts, report it to 9-1-1 immediately.

DFPC Fire Engine responding to a wildfire 2018