Colorado’s dry climate can lead to very pleasant humidity-free summers. Unfortunately, it can also lead to an increased risk for fires in Colorado including Colorado Springs, Black Forest, and other vulnerable cities in the area such as Manitou Springs.
Proper tree trimming can cut down on fire hazards Dramatically in aS state where fire prevention is a must.
Wildfires are common in the mountains and more rural areas of Colorado also. The farther a home is from the city, the more important it is to pay attention to wildfire risk management. Wildfires are much less likely to spread through the city because there typically is not enough fuel for a fire to cross streets, but there are still other fire risks such as electrical or grease fires.
Whether you live in an urban or rural area it is always a good idea to do a little bit of fire prevention work around the house to protect your property from fire risk.
Fire Prevention Around the House
The more fuel a fire has access to, the more likely that the fire will spread. Dead trees and branches, slash, logs, and other debris can increase the risk of fire.
There are two major factors that determine whether a fire will grow and spread or die out; density of fuel and continuity of fuel. The more fuel there is and the closer together it is, the more likely a fire will spread. The best way to prevent the spread of fire is to remove these fuels.
Pruning Tree Branches at the Base of Trees
Trees can provide vertical fuel for fires. Thick branches at the base of a tree can create what is called a fuel ladder. A fuel ladder is a dense and continuous source of fuel that may allow a fire to spread up into the canopy of a tree. Colorado Springs tree pruning is important and can reduce fire hazards with the added benefit of increased curb appeal.
Pruning tree branches so that the lowest branches are at least 10 feet from the ground (or at 1/3 the height of the tree in the case of a smaller tree) can help mitigate this risk.
Tree and Branch Removal
Dead trees can be very hazardous for many reasons and professional tree removal can be a great way to protect your home. When a dead tree or tree limb dies it will quickly begin to dry out. Dead dried out wood can be a very quick burning source of fuel in the case of a wildfire.
Insurance companies recommend cutting back trees to be at least 4 feet from the house. Removing branches that are growing too close toward the house will help prevent a fire from being able to reach home structures.
Trees that grow too close together also create higher fuel continuity. Thinning out a thick forest can help slow the spread of wildfires.
Thinning Out Scrub Oak Groves
Scrub oak is a thick bushy tree that can be very flammable. Scrub oak tends to grow close together and has thin tightly packed branches. This provides both density and continuity of fuel for a wildfire. Scrub oak should be thinned out to reduce the risk of fire taking off and spreading through the grove of trees. A good rule of thumb is to thin out about 25% of the scrub oak growing in a given area.
Removing Slash, Branches, Logs, and other Wood Debris
Wood debris on the ground can create a very fast-burning fuel source for a fire. Branches, slash, and logs should be cut up and removed from the property. Wood chipping is one option for removing larger logs. Wood chips hold in moisture so they are much less likely to burn than whole wood logs.
Mowing the Lawn and Keeping the Yard Clean
Generally speaking, a clean yard is a safer yard. Yard debris can provide a horizontal fuel source that may encourage a fire to spread more quickly. Raking up leaves and pine needles can help to protect the home. Pine needles create pine duff layers when they fall. This pine duff can become very dense and flammable. Mowing the lawn to keep the grass and weeds short will also help to limit fuel sources.
In a state like Colorado, fire prevention is a way of life, due to its dryer than normal climate. Understanding the climate and weather in your area is vital to prevent fire. If you are curious about the fire danger levels, the state has a comprehensive fire safety website for further reading on fire hazard and protection.
Fire risk is one of the trade-offs of living in our great state, but there are things that can be done to help protect your home and mitigate that risk:
- Keep tree branches pruned 10 feet off of the ground.
- Remove any trees that are dead, growing too close to the house, or growing too close together.
- Thin out bushy plants such as scrub oak.
- Remove any wood debris such as branches or logs.
- Keep the lawn and yard clean from leaves, pine needles, and overgrown grass.
Join the discussion One Comment
It definitely makes a lot of sense how improper tree management can cause quite a fire risk. This was something I never even considered with my property, but after reading your article and realizing just how large the trees near my house are, I can see this happening without me knowing. I’ll start looking for a tree service in the area that can hopefully get rid of a lot of dead wood and other faulty branches that could cause these risks.