Letter to the editor: How to defend your life and legacy before wildfire attacks | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: How to defend your life and legacy before wildfire attacks

Mitch Dahlke


I was an evacuee. The cause? One-hundred foot flames burning outside my door on Buffalo Mountain that fire-riddled June of 2018. After being displaced, I, like many others, had more questions than answers, which lit a fire in me to find out why my home and life were threatened. As we approach the three-year anniversary of that dreadful day, graduate school and forestry work has gifted me insight into how our community could be better prepared when the next wildfire ignites.

The U.S. Forest Service alters strips of vegetation to manage wildfire. Referred to as “fuel breaks,” they saved many homes on Buffalo Mountain. As homeowners, we can create fuel breaks of our own known as “defensible space zones.”

According to the CSU Extension Office, defensible space is the most important determinant to your home surviving wildfire. Firefighters recognize three components of fire: weather, topography and fuel. We are at the mercy of weather and topography, but fuels are where we can take control.

So what can you do? According to experts, fuels can be effectively managed using the three R’s of defensible space: remove dying vegetation from your property; reduce risky plant parts, like pruning dead branches; and replace dried-up vegetation with less flammable plants around your home. A few simple actions will go a long way to protect all of our homes from wildfire. It’s easy and it works.

Ready to act? Spark a movement in your community today!

May 1 is National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day. To help create defensible space, check out Firewise USA or consult with your local fire department.



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