We’re lucky that Eagle County experiences more than 300 days of sunshine every year. However, it’s a fact that we live where fire will occur. People are increasingly building homes in areas prone to wildfire; half the wildfires in Colorado are lightning-caused. The rest have some human connection. With preparation and planning, together we can keep the community safe from wildfires.
Maintaining defensible space around your home is one way to reduce the ability for a fire to spread. Property owners have a responsibility to prepare their properties so fire fighters can most effectively defend communities.
Property owners, Cordillera and Eagle County can work together to create a home site that is protected as possible from wildfires. Find out what you need to know to defend your home from wildfire.
Ready Set Go
Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wildland fire so your home is ready in case of a fire.
- Subscribe to ECAlert to ensure that you receive emergency messages.
- Create a Family Disaster Plan that includes meeting locations and communication plans and rehearse it regularly. Include the evacuation of large animals, such as horses, in your plan.
- Have fire extinguishers on hand and teach your family how to use them.
- Ensure that your family knows where your gas, electric, and water main shut-off controls are and how to use them.
- Plan and practice several different evacuation routes.
- Designate an emergency meeting location outside the fire hazard area.
- Assemble an emergency supply kit as recommended by the American Red Cross. Keep an extra kit in your vehicle.
- Appoint an out-of-area friend or relative as a point of contact so you can communicate with family members.
- Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers in your emergency supply kit.
- Have a portable radio or scanner so you can stay updated on the fire and weather emergency announcements.
- Monitor fire weather conditions and fire status. Stay tuned to TV, local radio stations or social media for updates.
- Evacuate as soon as you are ‘set!’
- Alert family and neighbors.
- Dress in appropriate clothing (i.e., clothing made from natural fibers, such as cotton, and work boots). Have goggles and a dry bandana or particle mask handy.
- Ensure that you have your emergency supply kit on hand that includes all necessary items, such as a battery powered radio, spare batteries, emergency contact numbers, and a lot of drinking water.
- Remain close to your house, drink plenty of water, and ensure your family and pets are accounted for until you are ready to leave.
- Close all windows and doors, leaving them unlocked.
- Remove all shades and curtains from windows.
- Move furniture to the center of the room, away from windows and doors.
- Turn off pilot lights and air conditioning.
- Leave your exterior lights on so firefighters can see your house under smoky conditions
- Bring combustible items from the exterior of the house inside (e.g., patio furniture, children’s toys, door mats, etc.).
- Turn off propane tanks and other gas at the meter.
- Don’t leave sprinklers on or water running. They can affect critical water pressure.
- Back your car into the driveway to facilitate a quick departure. Shut doors and roll up windows.
- Patrol your property and extinguish all small fires until you leave.
- Cover attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals if time permits.
- Do not wait to be advised to leave if there is a possible threat to your home or evacuation route. Leave early enough to avoid being caught in fire, smoke or road congestion. If you are advised to leave by local authorities, do not hesitate. By leaving early, you give your family the best chance of surviving a wildland fire. You also help firefighters by keeping roads clear of congestion, enabling them to move more freely and do their job in a safer environment.
- Go to an evacuation center and check-in with authorities to receive further information and direction.