How safe is your home or business from being damaged or destroyed by a nearby wildfire?
The issue became very pertinent this year for Dolores locals when the Plateau Fire came within 6 miles of town.
To help determine local risks, Wildfire Adapted Partnership will conduct a series of rapid risk assessments on 500 residences and businesses in Dolores in the next two weeks.
“When homes are damaged or destroyed, it is usually from embers blowing over from the nearby wildfire,” said Amanda Brenner-Cannon, WAP Montezuma County coordinator. “Our goal is to educate property owners on ways to minimize their risk.”
The rapid risk assessments are designed to look at 11 points of home defensibility in the event of a wildfire. Each home assessment should take approximately 60-90 seconds and will not disturb the homeowner.
Assessments will be completed by survey takers stopping briefly in front of each residence, and be scored with a high, medium or low-risk score.
A report on the survey will be presented to the Dolores Town Board, and individuals can contact WAP to find out the score for their home or business.
WAP and the Dolores Watershed Resilient Forest Collaborative are working toward prioritizing threats to structures in the Dolores watershed in an effort to create a more resilient community and reduce risk to our homes, forest, and watershed, Brenner-Cannon said.
The information gathered will only be used to inform emergency managers and educate property owners.
The assessment analyzes risks such as roof material, flammable vegetation and materials near home, deck and patio construction material, location of firewood-piles, and how accessible a property is for fire equipment. Whether your address is clearly visible is also important for rescue and fire crews.
“The less combustible materials on a property, the lower the risk,” Brenner-Cannon said.
Often overlooked hazards are dried grasses and debris under decks that can catch fire from a blowing ember. Vents and windows in homes are another place where embers can enter, and should always have a metal screen of one-eighth inch or smaller.
If interested, WAP offers property owners a more comprehensive analysis of wildfire risk that takes about one hour.
“Too often people think that because they are in town, they are not at risk from a wildfire, but look what happened at Paradise,” Brennen-Cannon said, referring to the northern California town where nearly 14,000 homes were recently destroyed by the Camp Fire, and 85 people were killed.
For more information on protecting your property from wildfire, visit www.wildfireadapted.org or call 970-385-8909.