Summit County is home to some incredible forests and wild lands making it attractive to folks who want to be closer to nature. Unfortunately, this makes the risk of wildfire eminent and homeowners and local authorities must take it very seriously. While the government stands prepared to take immediate action when fires happen and provide ongoing programs to limit the risks to property and residents, homeowners are encouraged to stay informed and take adequate measures to prepare.
Buying a property in Summit County is safe because of the community uses the latest technology to prepare, prevent, and combat wildfires. Summit County has many programs and officials devoted to wildfire prevention and planning. In addition, local fire departments and responders train year-round to prepare for hot and dry summer seasons. The professionals assess the forests and burn clearcut dead timber in the winter, ensuring that Summit County neighborhoods are protected.
Summit County is Ready to Respond to Wildfires
Summit County takes wildfires very seriously. The government and several other agencies are equipped with evacuation plans and personnel to respond as quickly as possible to wildfires in any area. In addition, Summit County has their own Wildfire Council that holds meetings from March through November.
Knowing about countywide emergencies has become a streamlined process through the Summit County Alert System. Once you have signed up for these alerts, you will know about evacuations and wildfires within minutes of it starting.
Summit County makes it safe to be a homeowner as the number one priority is to protect the residents and property. With many agencies like the sheriff's office, Lake Dillon Fire & Rescue, U.S. Forest Service, and the Summit County Government, the response is extraordinarily quick as they plan and train for wildfires year round. You can find more information on wildfire planning from the Summit County Government.
Wildfire Training and Expertise
Knowledge is power, as the saying goes. When it comes to protecting private property against loss due to fires, wild land firefighters not only have regular fitness tests but also need to stay up to date on all certifications regarding wildfire training. This ensures the best decisions are made during emergencies to keep homes safe and protect surrounding areas. In addition, hotshot crews, air support, and surrounding areas send trained personnel to help fight wildfires when they occur. It is common to have upwards of 100 specialists traveling from around the country to fight wildfires within one day of it starting.
Another extremely effective preventative measure is cutting fire lines to create an effective fuel break. Crews strategically cut trees down to create large pathways through the forests to slow down the growth of the fire. Many of these fuel breaks have helped stop and contain raging wildfires from burning highly populated neighborhoods.
Create a Defensible Space: Fire Prevention Around Your Property
Homeowners can mitigate the fire risk in several different ways. The Federal Emergency Management Agency recommends clearing a 30-foot perimeter around the house creating a defensible space. Clearing trees, weeds, and all other potential fuel will help reduce the risk of a quickly moving wildfire from reaching your home. In addition, clearing the vegetation with the right equipment is essential to not start a wildfire yourself. Having a spark arrestor on all equipment like tractors, ATVs, chainsaws, mowers and weed eaters are required in many areas.
Even if the wildfire is not threatening your home, embers from a nearby wildfire can spread to your home. Having the proper roofing materials can help save your home from the embers getting caught in your shingles and starting a fire. If your home doesn’t have it already, consider switching to fire-resistant roofing. This is a small investment that could prevent a total loss from fire.
To aid in your wildfire prevention plan, talk with a local expert to find out how high your wildfire risk is. Asking Breckenridge’s Red, White, and Blue Fire Department will give you a better idea of how protected your property is, and how quickly a fire might spread with the nearby terrain. They can also help you figure out what the response time will be in case of an emergency.
Homeowners Insurance & Coverage for Wildfire Disasters
It is very important to know what your homeowner’s insurance will cover before a wildfire happens. Many insurance companies do not have wildfire insurance with standard plans. In Summit County, you will definitely want to have the additional coverage for natural disasters. Talk to your insurance agent and make sure you are covered for fire related events.
Because wildfires spread rapidly, many evacuations happen within a few hours of the fire starting. This leaves many homeowners with little to no time to gather important memorabilia and belongings from the home. Be sure to photograph every room before a wildfire starts to help the insurance companies accurately compensate you. Knowing if your home and all valuables inside are insured is essential to maintain your peace of mind.
Fire Damage Clean Up & Repair
If your home happens to get caught in the path of a fire, there are many local companies that can rebuild and restore everything that is damaged. As soon as it’s safe to return home, assess the damage and call an expert to help determine whether the home is structurally sound. If there is just smoke or water damage in and around the home, restoration crews will be able to come in and start cleaning. There are many resources available to homeowners in the aftermath of a wildfire. The most important thing to know after a natural disaster is that you are not alone.
Investing in a Protected Community
Buying a home in Summit County doesn’t need to be stressful regarding a wildfire. There are numerous resources available to help mitigate the risk fire poses to your new investment. In addition, the Summit County community is actively involved in reducing the risk of wildfires. Buying a home in our beautiful mountain community is safer than ever before with the proactive and knowledgeable professionals working to protect us all. Contact us for more information about wildfire prevention and protecting your home.
By Coldwell Banker