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Saturday, January 25, 2014

How Much Is Enough Prevention?

Just how much is enough when it comes to wildfire protection?  I don't think enough precautions can be made as wildfire is a destructive potential killer. I just did a walk around the front of our property and found 20 dead trees that need to come down. We had a Colorado Wildfire Survey done by a professional wildfire expert two years ago and scored better than excellent on it. The lower the score the better the ranking and 45 is excellent and we scored 35 which is beyond excellent. During that time the 20 trees have died and are standing dry wood that could easily fuel a wildfire.

Why consider this in January?  Because if I start taking down one or two trees over the next thirty days it will be less to deal with. Also because we had a dry winter last year and it appears with only 80" of snow this winter to date that it may be two years in a row. The expert on forest fires gave me two suggestions to protect our property that would lower our score even lower and both of those have been accomplished so our score is now even lower than the 35 points. If I remove these trees that have died it would lower it even further. Does that mean we are safe? You are never safe in  a forest fire but you can sure increase your odds of survival (if you can't evacuate) considerably by being prepared ahead of time.

Should we not be able to evacuate our preservation plan is the same one taught to fire fighters according to the audit expert who used to train fire fighters. I was pleased to hear when I explained to him our plan that it was sound and what they use also. So now is the time to start work albeit very early so we will be more prepared. Our community has a wildfire team but having volunteered two times to be on the committee I find that I am not qualified. Pretty laughable since the articles I wrote for Mother Earth News on protecting yourself against wildfire were favorably commented on by the National Forest Service in Washington DC, as all encompassing and accurate. In any case we will continue to protect ourselves and now is the time to start - before the season begins.

Dead standing trees will become logs for lumber when I mill them out and those that can't be converted to lumber will be given away as firewood to some friends. The branches will be mulched and used on wet areas to add base. Nothing will go to waste. Now in the mountains is the time to prepare for the upcoming season. We have not had a wildfire but its not so much if we will ever have one as when.  When that time comes we want to be as prepared as possible and have a safe oasis to protect ourselves. So we will strap on the snowshoes and get a head start on mitigating our exposure.

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