Total Pageviews

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Pro-Active Wildfire Protection - Part 2

Colorado is a semi-arid state hence we always have a wildfire possibility. Wildfires kill approximately 339,000 people each year so the better informed we are the greater our chances of not being one of those statistics. One of the best sites I have found on how to survive a wildfire is: It covers staying safe if you are on foot, in a car or in a  building. Most people die from smoke inhalation as opposed to burning to death.

Not everyone is like us with a bottleneck for entrance and exit and may have multiple escape routes. Firefighters and equipment would be coming in our area using the same access that we would be using trying to exit. Our association hence has a plan that we use two routes to evacuate that take us over extremely perilous and rough trails. To be caught on either would be deadly and you would have to survive in a car or on foot. It depends on someone else meeting us at a gate to lead us out which just adds one more chance for failure.

When you develop a plan that other people are to follow if anything in that plan goes array then you are stuck with the result. If by chance people are severely injured or die the probability for mega lawsuits are excellent and the chance of prevailing is slim. It is better to not have a plan than have one that will possibly fail and draw lawsuits. Wildfires often move very fast and people panic and coupled with all the other risks there is a high chance any plan will deteriorate rapidly. Sometimes it is best to let people know what will likely be happening and let them formulate their own plan.

When the smoke is so thick that you can't hardly see the road or when embers are falling on your vehicle people are prone to make mistakes and if there are others behind you they could be victims of your panic. Staying calm is essential for clear thinking. Every man for themselves could present serious problems so having a viable plan plus a back up plan and sticking to it might just save your life and the lives of those you love.

The above link is excellent to inform on how to improve your chances of survival and is informative so people can design their own plan. When developing a plan to save yourself in a wildfire is not a 'one size fits all' as each situation can be vastly different. Being armed with all the information available and developing a plan that suits you is a reasonable alternative as opposed to depending on others to do it for you. For example if you are semi disabled and waiting for some to pick you up may not work because that person may be cut off from your location leaving you stranded.

Another excellent site for valuable information is: By reading these two sites it should help people develop their own plan. The best plan is obviously to evacuate but if you are stopped by some moron who tells you the best route is unavailable to you and bars you from taking your planned route you have to go a different direction and could be in serious trouble by being cut off or trapped in your vehicle or fleeing on foot.

The next two parts will be about how we made our home as wildfire proof as possible and what happens when you are not allowed to return to your home post evacuation.

Having a workable plan and also a backup plan in case the first plan doesn't work is important. To not have a plan could be to your peril. Discuss your plan with your family and friends and evaluate for possible weakness and be flexible enough to change if necessary. We have lived here in potential wildfire country for over twenty years and early on established a plan for us and we have revised it several times during that time.


Barbara Ferguson said...

Important information to consider and act on. Thanks for posting.
Seeing all the beetle kill fuel up on the ridges has me worried about this issue also. Trees around my cabin up there are cut back enough that the forestry division seems to think it is "defensible". However I think that falling embers on the side and back decks would make my cabin very vulnerable. Have been thinking that replacing the wood deck with metal would be smart.
I was also advised to get a metal roof. Both are expensive propositions but I'd rather be safer than sorry. My sense is that with wood siding right next to the wooden deck, that the deck is the weaker of the two links.

Bruce said...

Barbara: If you were here when a wildfire occurred a mist system would be good. I mentioned it in part 3. It keeps your wooden deck wet and the expert who inspected our home said it had been used successfully in other parts of the country. I bought my system from Jon Offerdahl at Advanced Systems Co. in Palm Desert, CA. I think our system cost slightly over $100.00.
Of course if you were not here there would be no one to turn the misting system on.

Barbara Ferguson said...

Thank you for the suggestion and the referral! When I'm not present there is a year-round community resident/neighbor who I believe would be willing go turn a deck misting system on for me, given enough advance warning. So that is a good fire mitigation solution for the deck. This plus getting a metal roof would reduce some risk. After reading your article I did an internet search and found this Flame Guard product:

I couldn't find reviews on Flame Guard, but I did find lots of amazing positive reviews on this interior use product:

Bruce said...

Thank you for those web sites Barbara. I'm sure some readers will find those helpful.