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Vail Fire & Emergency Services Ready to Begin Curbside Wildfire Home Hazard Evaluations

  • 9 July 2017
Vail Fire & Emergency Services Ready to Begin Curbside Wildfire Home Hazard Evaluations

Personnel from Vail Fire & Emergency Services are set to begin a door-to-door canvass throughout Vail’s residential neighborhoods to help community members learn how best to protect their property from a wildfire. This effort is part of the larger Fire Adapted Vail Initiative which aims to reduce the community’s overall risk by encouraging the use of ignition-resistant construction and fire-resistive landscaping around the home.

The neighborhood canvass will begin Sunday, July 2 and will continue over the next four months in which firefighters will visit each property in the project area to conduct a curbside advisory evaluation. Property owners will be invited to join in the assessment and encouraged to ask questions to learn about any specific hazards on their property. The project area for this first phase of evaluations includes properties south of I-70 from Matterhorn Circle to the west end of Intermountain. Additional evaluations will be taking place over the next several years to complete the town wide effort.

Letters of introduction are being mailed to approximately 600 households that will be the focus of these first evaluations. The letters will include a copy of the evaluation form that will be used during the advisory evaluation. The checklist includes roofing and siding materials as well as the landscaping that surrounds the home. Only items that are visible from the roadway or other public areas will be evaluated. An invitation to schedule a more thorough evaluation of the entire property will also be offered. Once the evaluations have been completed, property owners will receive a follow-up letter from the department describing the results of the evaluation and measures that can be taken to reduce any hazards on the property.

The evaluation project is being coordinated by Paul Cada, the department’s wildland program administrator. Cada says property owners are not obligated to complete any of the recommendations provided to them, although he’s hoping simple suggestions such as thinning out overgrown landscaping or more extensive measures such as replacing wood shake roofs will be acted upon. “We’re hoping these evaluations will be the catalyst to encourage homeowners to be proactive in minimizing their risk for wildfire,” he said. “Together, we can all play a vital role in making Vail a Fire Adapted Community.”

Vail has been developed in an ecosystem that is dependent upon wildfire, says Cada. The plant and animal communities have adapted over time to thrive with wildfire. He says the Fire Adapted Vail program aims to have the community thrive as well. In addition to encouraging property owners to build with ignition-resistant construction and use fire-resistant landscaping, the department is partnering with the U.S. Forest Service on large-scale fuel breaks in the forests surrounding town. Additionally, Vail Fire is working with other emergency response agencies in the county to develop a highly skilled and effective deployment system to provide the highest level of wildfire response possible.

For more information about the advisory evaluations and Fire Adapted Vail, contact Cada at 970-477-3475 or email pcada@vailgov.com.

 

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