Colorado Springs suffered one of the worst disasters in our history – the Waldo Canyon Fire. One year later, state and federal officials were warning that our fire season could be the worst we’ve ever seen. Their warnings and predictions proved right with the Black Forest fire, the single largest loss of homes in Colorado history. If you live in one of the many “red zones” across the state, it’s time to take steps protect your home and finances from the threat of wildfire.
You don’t have to live in the middle of the trees to be at risk for a wildfire. Hot embers can travel up to a mile in the air during windy conditions. Many of us living within city limits are at risk and need to make sure we do everything we can to prevent a fire spreading to our homes. Here’s a few tips from the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association:
- Before a catastrophe strikes and you’re faced with a loss, make a home inventory – lists, pictures or a videotape of the contents of your home. Regardless of how you do it (written list, CD, photos, video), keep your inventory along with receipts OFF premises.
- Mitigate: Create a 30-foot defensible space around your home by removing as much flammable material as you can. Replace flammable vegetation with fire resistive plants.
- Reduce the number of trees in heavily wooded areas by spacing native trees and shrubs at least 10 feet apart. On trees taller than 18 feet, prune lower branches within six feet of the ground.
- Make it easy for firefighters to get to your home. Roads need to be wide enough to accommodate fire trucks, and there has to be a place for them to turn around.
- Insurance: Do an annual home insurance check-up and make sure you understand what is and isn’t covered by your insurance company.
- Make sure your home is insured to it’s full value, including the cost of debris removal and any increased construction costs needed to bring a home up to code.
Did you know you may qualify for a $2500 Colorado state tax credit for mitigating the fire risk around your home? Depending on where you live, you may be able to take advantage of a tax credit that expires at the end of 2013 which helps offset the cost or protecting your home from wildfires!
Don’t wait until it’s too late, prepare your home now for fire season!