How to Protect Your Home and Yard from Fires

By June 29, 2020July 22nd, 2020Fire Prevention
tree fire prevention

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.

trimming trees to prevent fire hazards

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.

tree branch removal

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.

tree trimming near me

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.

 

Summary

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.

 

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