Alpine Fire Marshal Jason McBroom stood in the backyard of Art and Beth Puls’
Crown Hills home on the last Friday in June and, overlooking the sweeping mountainous view from their back porch that might otherwise be cause for comment, instead talked about homeowner risk factors that could prove significant when the next fire sweeps through the rural community.
The visits, born from a talk the Fire Marshal gave at the couple’s recent Homeowners Association meeting, was designed to help residents identify ways they can reduce the risk of fire spreading throughout the community.
Yards should be “weed whacked and maintained against flashy fuel” for at least 100 feet extending horizontally from the home, McBroom said, and foliage profiles should shrink from the far reaches of property lines toward the home so that fires are more likely to extinguish themselves from lack of fuel before they get anywhere near a house.
“You don’t want anything flammable right around your home so these little plants— stick them in a pot and move them well away from the house,” McBroom said, pointing at a small patch of decorative flowers planted by the patio door.
Climbing vines should be removed, he said, with nothing growing near windows and exposed eaves.
He pronounced the trees in the Puls’ yard “perfect” because of their relative size and clean maintenance pattern.
“Do we need to remove all the trees? No, but we need to provide some level of mitigation. Generally, when a tree limb is more than 12 feet, the tree should be trimmed six feet from the ground. We want a cool area between the ground and the canopy of the tree,” McBroom said.
A risk reduction questionnaire is available on the Alpine Fire Protection District website at www.alpinefire.org where homeowners can quickly get a sense of community resources.
“We have plenty of Ready, Set Go handouts already assembled at the station for homeowners” McBroom said and he is happy to stop by individual homes to advise owners on how to make their property more defensible.