The Alamosa District provides technical assistance to help communities and landowners in the San Luis Valley, including Alamosa, Conejos, Costillo, Mineral, Rio Grande and Saguache counties.
Alamosa District – Wildfire Mitigation & Education
Protect your Home, Property & Forest
Due to Colorado’s arid climate and fire-dependent forests, many homeowners and landowners may be particularly vulnerable to wildfires. It is important to keep this in mind when buying, building and/or maintaining your home or property. Homeowners can take steps to protect their property and help alleviate the spread of wildland fires.
Two factors have emerged as the primary determinants of a home’s ability to survive a wildfire-quality of the defensible space around the home and the home’s structural ignitability. Together, these two factors create a concept called the Home Ignition Zone (HIZ), which includes the structure and the space immediately surrounding the structure. To protect a home from wildfire, the primary goal is to reduce or eliminate fuels and ignition sources within the HIZ.
Firewise Communities/USA® is a national recognition program that provides instructional resources to inform people how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together and take action to reduce their wildfire risk.
The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) work together to implement the Firewise Communities/USA® program in Colorado. The CSFS provides technical assistance and education to interested landowners, homeowners and communities to help them take action and ownership in preparing their homes against the threat of wildfire.
Learn more on the CSFS Colorado Firewise Communities page
Defensible space is the area around a home or other structure that has been modified to reduce fire hazard. In this area, natural and manmade fuels are treated, cleared or reduced to slow the spread of wildfire. The actual design and development of your defensible space depends on several factors.
- Size and shape of building(s)
- Construction materials
- Slope of the ground
- Surrounding topography
- Sizes and types of vegetation on your property
For more information on how to create wildfire-defensible space around your home, including the three defensible space zones, refer to the CSFS publication:
- Creating Wildfire-Defensible Zones (738 KB PDF)
The ideal time to address home ignition risk is when the structure is in the design phase. However, you can still take steps to reduce ignitability to an existing home. For instance, it is important to choose a fire-resistant roofing material that is rated class C or higher when building a house in, or near forests or grasslands. Avoid flammable materials such as wood or shake shingles. For more information on appropriate roofing materials and other fire-resistant building designs and materials, refer to the CSFS publication:
• FireWise Construction: Site Design & Building Materials (1.3 MB PDF)
Fire behavior can be modified by strategically placing landscape-scale fuelbreaks. A fuelbreak (or shaded fuelbreak) is a strip of land varying in width (depending on fuel and terrain), in which fuel density is reduced, thus improving fire control opportunities. For more information on fuelbreak guidelines, refer to the publication below:
- Fire Adapted Communities
- Colorado Firewise Communities USA
- Current Wildfire and Fire Restrictions Websites
- Ready, Set, Go!
- Community Wildfire Protection Plans
- Colorado Wildland Fire and Incident Management Academy
- Wildfire and Insurance (1.9 MB PDF)
- Forest Home Fire Safety (349 KB PDF)
- Fire-Resistant Landscaping (192 KB PDF)