It’s no secret that this year in Colorado has been unusually dry. Colorado’s shrinking mountain snowpack, at about 75% of normal levels, means an increased risk for wildfire this year as we head into warmer weather.
Due to the dryness and increased risk, wildfire mitigation in Colorado Springs has received help from the federal government, when the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) granted the Colorado Springs Fire Department $1 million.
This, “Pre-Disaster Mitigation grant will pay for wildfire mitigation projects on 500 acres in Ute Valley Park and an open space next to the Broadmoor Bluffs neighborhood.” FEMA will be paying 75% of the project costs and the remaining costs will be paid for by the public safety sales tax and volunteer labor.
This won’t be enough to completely minimize risk and so it is important that residents understand and participate in at-home fire mitigation as well. The neighborhoods and homeowner associations that partner with WMG are on board for at-home fire mitigation which includes free consults with local fire crews on how to better protect their property. Residents and communities on hillsides and near forest or brush areas are in especially critical positions.
Not only will fire mitigation help decrease the chance of damaged property and land, and help with the Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant, but as an extra incentive there are also tax credits offered to homeowners for taking certain measures on their property. These measures include but are not limited to:
– Pruning lower tree branches to a height no more than 1/3 the trees height
– Removing pine needles, leaves and debris from the ground
– Removing dead or diseased trees
– Creating at least 15 feet of separation immediately around the home and thinning up to 30 ft, however make sure you aren’t working beyond your property line!
– Refraining from use of under deck space for storage
All the wildfire mitigation measures help protect homes, neighborhoods, pets and families that make Colorado Springs the incredible place it is. In case of an emergency, residents are still encouraged to download the City’s Emergency Preparedness and Safety Guide for information on how to prepare for wildfire, flash flooding or other emergency events, including the need for evacuation. The Wildfire Mitigation page is also available for more information about reducing wildfire risk and specific information on tax credits for homeowners.
Let’s protect our homes and beautiful communities by all doing our part. Mitigate, mitigate, mitigate!