Wildfire & Fire Mitigation Resources
for the Denver Foothills Area
This page provides a handy list and description of the best resources for wildfire preparedness, mitigation, and assistance for homeowners and business owners in and around Evergreen, Colorado and the foothills west of Denver.
Destructive wildfires are a fact of life in the Colorado Front Range and especially in the area around Evergreen and Conifer (according to the Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce, this is one of the 10 areas most at risk of wildfire damage in the USA).
The frequency and intensity of wildfires are increasing (see our article for details on why that is and how it affects you), not only in our area but across much of the state. That means the chances of being affected by a forest fire are significant - and growing.
Besides the fact that it's common-sense preventive maintenance, more insurance companies are now mandating that you take fire mitigation steps before they'll insure your property.
Below are some of the best local resources to help you:
- plan for, set up, and pay for fire mitigation on your property,
- understand how the local community is preparing for wildfire hazards,
- learn how to adapt to living with wildfire risk,
- minimize the risk of fire, including following fire restrictions or bans,
- Jefferson County's slash collection program to rid your property of combustible debris, and
- emergency contact information and alerts
Income Tax Subtraction for Wildfire Mitigation Measures
If your property is located in a wildland-urban interface area, you may qualify to receive a federal tax subtraction of between 50% and 100% for the costs of wildfire mitigation work. This applies to income tax years 2009 through 2024. In 2020, the 100% subtraction amount was extended beyond the original expiration date of 2019. For qualifications and limitations under the Wildfire Mitigation Measures Subtraction, please visit the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Evergreen Fire Protection District Community Wildfire Protection Plan
This strategic plan, developed in 2007, identifies specific wildland fire hazards and risks facing communities and neighborhoods, and provides prioritized mitigation recommendations that are designed to reduce those hazards and risks. The local community or neighborhood is responsible for implementing the action items but you’ll find plenty of useful advice and actions you can take yourself to lower fire risk.
Firewise USA™ is a national recognition program that provides instructional resources to inform people how to adapt to living with wildfire and encourages neighbors to work together and take action to reduce their wildfire risk.
Evergreen Fire Rescue (EFR) Wildfire Resources
EFR provides links to a number of information resources to help you minimize wildfire risk and to help EFR protect the Evergreen community from the threat of a wildfire disaster.
Before doing any burning, even if it's just a backyard barbeque, check whether there are any fire restrictions or bans in effect.
Evergreen Area Chamber of Commerce Wildfire Preparedness
The Evergreen Chamber has an extremely helpful webpage with local wildfire preparedness resources. It includes information about the resources that are available to you, evacuation plans and tips, state and local government wildfire programs, and much more. It's definitely worth a visit!
Jefferson County Fire Info
Removing slash (natural debris, such as branches, pine needles, and prunings) and creating a defensible space around your home, is the first line of defense against wildfires. You can hire a tree service (like LAM Tree Service) to remove it as part of a fire mitigation project, or you can remove it yourself. Jefferson County offers a slash collection program - you can see the slash collection schedule online.
To best stay informed before, during and after a disaster (such as a wildfire) you should monitor a number of information sources, including systems such as local emergency services websites (see below), warning sirens, SMS/text alert systems, local/national media outlets, and local government sources.
Jefferson CodeRED Alerts – click to sign up for text, SMS, email or mobile alert systems in case evacuation is needed
24 Hr Contact: 303-277-0211
- Arvada - 720-898-6875
- Golden - 303-384-8090
- Lakewood - 303-987-7118
- Littleton - 303-795-3908
- Westminster - 303-658-4550
- Wheat Ridge - 303-235-2931
Colorado State Forest Service
Homeowners have the ultimate responsibility to proactively prepare their property for wildfire. By creating and maintaining the home ignition zone, you can improve the likelihood of your home surviving a wildfire and reduce the negative impacts wildfires can have on your property. To help you better prepare your home for wildfire, check this guide from the Forest Service.
FAQs About Fire Mitigation Services
Each insurance company requires different things when it comes to fire mitigation.
Here are some things you need to know before you can proceed:
- What guidelines, if any, did the insurance company send?
- Was there an inspection done by the insurance company?
- Have you spoken with your agent?
- Is there a deadline?
- Where are your property lines located?
Ideally, you will know the answers to those questions. If you don't, we can complete the steps necessary for "voluntary mitigation."
Note that if we proceed in this matter, you may need to switch insurance companies.
Contact us when you hear from your insurance company and we can help you if your insurance company is requesting or requiring fire mitigation on your property.
Fire mitigation is the reduction of light, moderate and heavy fuels in a forest stand.
Wildfire mitigation allows you to minimize the destructive effects a wildfire has on your property by creating a defensible space around your home and modifying the home's construction (for example, the materials used to build your house)
Because fire won’t start in a heavy fuel setting (think about starting a campfire; you’ll always begin with light material like paper, needles, or grass, then add on the small to medium pieces of wood like sticks and twigs before the “firewood”, the heavy fuel that will burn for the longest time), we focus on the light and moderate fuels on your property.
The goal is to reduce or mitigate all the light and moderate fuels to a point where they can’t start your heavy fuels on fire.
Defensible space is the area around your house where the vegetation, including shrubs and trees, has been modified or removed to reduce the intensity of a wildfire and slow its spread.
It is the area near the structures but also the area along the ingress/egress. Defensible space is the “space” fire personnel will work to access and protect the structures. It’s also the area we’ll all use to safely evacuate in the event of a wildfire.
Having a good defensible space will also prevent a structure fire (like a spilled turkey fryer on your deck) from becoming a forest fire. If your house somehow has a fire we want there to be a safe working area for the fire department.
No! This is a very common misnomer about fire mitigation.
Many of our large, old trees have seen a fire in their past. They have exceptionally thick bark at the bottom that helps them survive fire.
The problem is because of our fire suppression efforts, the fuel in the forest (too many trees) lends to large, more aggressive fires.
The goal of fire mitigation is to mitigate the fuels, usually focusing on the fuels that have developed (grown) in the last 50 years. These are all the small to medium-sized trees in our forest as well as any dead, downed, and diseased trees.
We do our best to preserve those mature trees because of their resistance to fire and their value to your landscape.
Looking for some great plants for firewise properties? We have an article on that!
We’ll begin near the house, known as the home ignition zone or zone one (Z1).
This is an area that includes the first 30’ around the home, down your driveway, and along the portion of roadway your property borders. It begins at the edge of the roofline or attachments, like a deck or overhanging eve. The driveway section is measured from the center of the drive out to the sides 30’.
Our aim is to create a defensible space here, so that fire personnel can gain access in the event of a fire. This area also mitigates the risk of a structure fire leading to a wildfire.
There need to be very few flammable materials in these areas, as access to the structure is critical during a fire event.
Ideally, trees and shrubs in this area should be deciduous and be easy to rake under when the leaves drop. Plants like juniper, which are very flammable, should never be found in zone one.
If those favorite trees are in a tight growing group and within the first 30 feet from the structure some will almost definitely have to be removed.
Helping us to identify your favorite tree(s) is one of the best starting points to getting your fire mitigation done and making it something you can live with.
Knowing what trees are of high value allows us to work on preserving them by cutting away the smaller trees and trimming the large ones to be more resistant to a wildfire.
Fire mitigation is something that should be addressed all the time.
It’s also something that in many forests can’t be done all at once.
There have been about 120 years of fire suppression in our area. Before we put out as many fires as possible, the area had a regularly occurring fire cycle. That fire cycle is what mitigated the fuels. Now we have to mechanically replicate that regularly occurring fire by removing the fuels.
We have had homeowners with larger lots do a bit every year since the mid-1990’s when fire mitigation became such an important topic. Before that, we called it “Forest health thinning” and did it more for aesthetics and disease resistance.
You’ll find that doing mitigation will help with many forest problems, not just fire. The feedback we receive is positive from clients. They see more diversity of wildflowers and wildlife as we return the forest to a more natural state.
Fire Mitigation is an ongoing project.
Because the fuels in your forest grow, add on and leave behind biomass every year, these need to be dealt with often.
There used to be a regularly occurring fire cycle in our area. This was like the garbage company coming regularly to deal with the forests waste. Our fire suppression efforts made the garbage company not come. What would your house look like if you quit taking out the trash?
In order to create a more defensible, mitigated space in your outdoor living area we like to have your input.
- what are your favorite trees?
- which trees block a bad view (like a neighbors shed)?,\
- what trees do you enjoy seeing from the home?
These are all going to help us preserve the trees you want to keep. We’ll also assess which trees may have a disease or a hazard so that these are removed during your mitigation work.
Many properties will need several different sessions of work in order to not thin the stand too quickly, making it susceptible to wind-throw and disease.
Because it is a difficult and involved process to set up a plan, the time involved requires us to charge for that time. You’ll be happier with this process in the end!
Wildfire risk has increased in Colorado and other parts of the U.S.
You can read our blog post on why wildfire risk is increasing in order to:
- learn why wildfires are becoming more of a problem,
- assess the wildfire risk in our area,
- understand how it impacts your home or business insurance, and
- peruse a handy list and description of the best local resources for wildfire preparedness, mitigation, and assistance.
Risk of wildfires is constant in the Evergreen, CO area. We've put together a list of wildfire resources to help you learn more about fire mitigation in our area.
Get A Fire Mitigation Estimate
Call us at 303-674-8733 or contact us online to get an estimate for Fire Mitigation or a firewise landscaping consultation. Please note that there is a charge to provide an estimate for fire mitigation services.
Wildfire & Fire Mitigation Articles
In this article, we will answer those questions and more as we describe the process, talk through how fire mitigation is handled by LAM Tree Service, and go over general costs.
In this article, we will explain more about this strange relationship between wildfire suppression and tree pests, explore what can be done to change this pattern, and give you information on how to keep your Colorado property fire safe and your trees healthy.
We might have not considered that our attempt to control wildfires would negatively impact the wildlife. Studies shows that wildlife declined due to some forest fire managements. Read this article to know more about those methods.
Wildfires are becoming more and more common here in Colorado, and therefore it is the responsibility of every property owner to know how to protect their home or property from wildfire. With all the ongoing and past fire mitigation work, we have seen what works – and what doesn’t work – when it comes to…
Fire mitigation can make your Colorado property look dull. But we have a solution for that. Read this article to get ideas how you can improve the look of your property.
Resources for wildfire preparedness, mitigation, and assistance for homeowners and business owners in and around Evergreen, Colorado.
Wildfires are becoming more frequent and more severe throughout the western states, including Colorado and the area around Evergreen. Learn why that’s happening, what you can do to stay safe, and the firewise resources available to you.
You CAN have a beautifully landscaped yard and still be firewise – it just takes a little knowledge and know-how to protect your property from wildfires.
From the LAM Archives – July 2002 When I looked to the southwest from Bergen Park in the early afternoon on Sunday May 5th, I knew right away the plume of smoke wasn’t coming from any of the usual places in the Bailey or Buffalo Creek areas. This one was closer to home. By Monday…