Emmit Hoyl, Gilpin Wildfire Mitigation Grant Coordinator. Trees are falling in Gilpin County as homeowners mitigate their property to the risks of wildfire!
The Gilpin Wildfire Mitigation Grant is moving along at full steam this summer, with homeowners getting some great deals on their overdue fire mitigation. Currently, the program has 101 participants building defensible spaces around their homes, and we have space for more to sign up!
Gilpin residents who are working with their neighbors to reduce the fire danger have made significant progress one house at a time. In addition, the alliance between Gilpin County, the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS), and Timberline Fire Protection District is working well to share in the benefits of fire mitigation being performed by residents and contractors around the county.
Even though we have had a wet summer thus far, residents do not need to think very far back to remember the devastation caused by recent wildfires along the Front Range. Folks are motivated to take the steps necessary to increase the odds that their home will survive a fire. Insurance company requirements have also motivated some of our participants to enroll. We recommend that residents get ahead of the curve and get 50% off their fire mitigation before insurance companies force them to!
Participants are not just cutting trees with this program. Our participants are benefiting from the education they receive during visitations from the CSFS, who discuss not only tree mitigation, but household maintenance that can make a difference. Homeowners are learning simple steps to drastically reduce the potential for their homes to burn during wildfire.
One big hazard that we are seeing right now is all the lush grass growing up around people’s homes. We would like to remind folks to cut all the tall grass around their houses and outbuildings, and maintain a no-fuel zone of at least 3-5’ around the house. Even though the grass is wet and lush right now, several days of hot and dry weather can turn the grass dry, and be the main fuel to carry fire up to the house and into the crowns of trees.
As we learned during the 4-mile fire, 83% of the homes lost were burned down as a result of slow moving ground fire, rather than the result of a huge crown fire. Embers are the main culprits in burning down homes. Imagine a snow storm of hot embers landing on and around your house the same way a windy blizzard of snow would.
These areas where snow drifts are also the same areas where duff and debris collects throughout the year. Combine this flashy fuel with an ember and a fire can start that could burn the entire house down. It’s simple routine maintenance, which, combined with a good defensible space, works to keep houses standing.
The grant has recently freed up additional funding for more participants to get involved in the program, and is accepting applications for defensible space construction, as well as private acreage mitigation. For more information, please visit timberlinefire.com and click on the Gilpin Wildfire Mitigation Grant page.