Critical fire danger warnings have been in effect across Colorado this week, and the risk of a wildfire will remain high across the state in the coming days, authorities cautioned. Dry vegetation, low humidity and gusty winds on the plains and along the Front Range have raised the fire threat above average during a time of year that is already typically prone to wildfires, the U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center said this afternoon.
While it’s important to keep grasses cut, to limb up trees to prevent a ladder effect for a raging fire, and to incorporate fuelbreaks, most important is knowing which types of plants are safest to have close to your home. To learn about fire-prone plants versus those that can delay or prevent fire from reaching your home, visit your state’s Cooperative Extension website for a listing of appropriate plants. You also may find useful information on the Firewise Plant Lists site, at www.firewise.org/usa/fw_plantlists.htm.
The early spring season offers an excellent opportunity to get a head start on activities you’ll need to tackle come warmer weather. Consider the following:
• By keeping trees healthy and trimmed, you can stave off excessive damage that can occur as a result of winter storms. For example, removing dead limbs that are too close to your roof can eliminate the risk of a power outage or roof damage caused by the dead wood.
•Place portable fire pits on stable, fireproof surfaces, such as concrete, away from combustibles.
•Keep your grill away from walls and out from under leaves and overhanging branches.
•If you live in a place where it snows, remember to keep all exhaust vents from your home clear and shovel out hydrants near your home.
•Develop and practice a home evacuation plan.
•Make sure every family member knows two ways out of each room in your home.
•Practice escaping, staying low to the ground and not opening doors that are hot to the touch.
•Assign a family member to assist anyone with a mobility issue.
•Choose a place outside your home for all family members to meet. Get out of the home first and then call the fire department from a neighbor’s phone. Make sure everyone knows not to return inside the home.