By Splintered Forest - September 6, 2022
In Colorado's wooded areas, wildfires are common. You may be vulnerable to wildfire damage if you reside in Colorado's wildland-urban interface, where houses and other structures coexist with forest vegetation. Taking the appropriate actions and planning ahead can boost the probability that your home will survive a wildfire. Fire mitigation is an investment, so applying for a Colorado fire mitigation grant can help you pay for proper fire mitigation.
Fire mitigation is the removal of fuels near your property that might cause greater heat and exposure in the event of a wildfire. Grass fires, brush fires, and forest fires are all examples of wildland fires. The effect of these fires can be reduced or managed by establishing a defensible space and taking other measures to lower the intensity of the fire and assist fire services in fighting flames that may endanger your property. The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) is the key state agency in Colorado for fuels mitigation expertise and a great resource for citizens who want to learn more and take action to reduce the threat of wildfire where it matters to them most.
The goal of defensible space is to keep a fire from spreading from the forest to your home (or vice versa), as well as to provide firefighters with enough area to move. A defensible space is a zone surrounding your home where fuels and plants are removed, reduced or treated to slow fire spread. Firefighters can use this area to safeguard your property from an oncoming wildfire. Without defensible space, firefighters cannot battle the fire safely. By constructing a defensible area, you enhance the likelihood of your home surviving a wildfire.
Clearing brush, mowing grass, and thinning trees near your home lowers the severity of the fire. Creating openings in the vegetation surrounding your property, particularly spaces between trees, creates natural barriers that help firefighters delay the fire and lessen possible loss.
There are over 3 million Coloradans who live in the wildland-urban interface (WUI). The WUI is any area where man-made improvements are built close to, or within, flammable vegetation. If you live in the WUI, you are at risk and getting a Colorado fire mitigation grant can help you pay for fire mitigation services.
The Colorado State Forest Service website has information about their Forest Restoration & Wildfire Risk Mitigation (FRWRM) Grant Program. For 2023, applications are open from August 17, 2022 through October 19, 2022. Those who can apply for this grant include:
Registered HOAs or formal neighborhood associations that are in or close to the WUI
Municipalities, counties, fire protection districts, and other districts in or close to the WUI
Private or public utilities with land ownership or infrastructure in high-risk areas
State agencies that own land areas with high risk
Non-profit organizations that engage in fire management or firefighting activities or promote hazardous forest fuel reduction efforts
Private landowners also have access to fire mitigation grant applications through these programs:
Aside from helping reduce the likelihood that severe damage will occur in the event of a wildfire, taking steps for mitigation can help you stay compliant with your insurance company. Many insurance companies are requesting homeowners take precautions to protect their homes to remain insurable. If you're unsure whether your policy requires fire mitigation, you should contact your insurance company directly.