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Old 04-16-2018, 01:45 PM
 
20,308 posts, read 37,797,930 times
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"... the county has no universal fire code standard. Instead, it has a patchwork of fire codes and land use regulations that vary between more than 26 fire districts. New subdivisions in wildfire zones must meet special wildfire criteria, but individual homes do not have to be built with fire resistant material or have mitigated properties. ..."

Wow. No fire code standards ... and having 26 fire districts is as bad as having 20 school districts...

Am I the only one who gets that we are our own worst enemies on so many aspects...

Does the nation need over 3000 counties? Does COLO need 64 counties? Does El Paso County need 20+ fire districts and 20+ school districts? Is anyone sick of paying for all that duplication?
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Old 04-16-2018, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Colorado
703 posts, read 443,036 times
Reputation: 967
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vision67 View Post
I think the entire front range area is susceptible to big wildfires this year. For over 100 years we've extinguished fires and despite mitigation efforts, allowed tons of dried out vegetation to accumulate in the forested areas. A thunderstorm on a hot afternoon could quickly ignite a huge fire.

However, subsequent to the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest wildfires, we've learned. That Boeing 747 tanker parked at the Colorado Springs airport is now under contract to be available for quick action. Hopefully, when a fire starts, we can hit it sooner and heavier than occurred during the Waldo fire.

Personally, I think it's a bad idea to build a house in a forested area. Every year, some of them burn.
Vision, I completely agree with you. We are those people that bought a house in the woods. It was because we needed to be in boundaries for a specific school for my special needs son. I have no illusion what we are probably going to be facing. Once our youngest is done with school, we will sell but that's many years down the line. We are as prepared as we can be practicing our own home fire drills. We spent the last two years doing fire mitigation all over our acre. We've taken down over two hundred trees that were overgrown and dying. However, not all of our neighbors have done this so our efforts are pretty futile. The most frustrating part for me is many of these fires are man caused, not nature caused. I'm very nervous about this summer.
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Old 04-16-2018, 04:16 PM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
4,330 posts, read 4,354,278 times
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I had one friend had his house in Mountain Shadows burn to the ground in 2012 and another who experienced the same in the Black Forest fire the following year. Both had done extensive mitigation on their lots and it didn't work. The fire embers blown in the firestorm ignited their roofs and decks.

Just make sure you are insured for actual replacement value. Many people were not. Building prices have risen substantially more than housing values. Also, make a complete inventory of everything in your house with its initial cost and an estimate of its depreciated value. The insurance companies will require that. A video would be a good reference.
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Old 04-16-2018, 08:42 PM
 
Location: Colorado
703 posts, read 443,036 times
Reputation: 967
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vision67 View Post
I had one friend had his house in Mountain Shadows burn to the ground in 2012 and another who experienced the same in the Black Forest fire the following year. Both had done extensive mitigation on their lots and it didn't work. The fire embers blown in the firestorm ignited their roofs and decks.

Just make sure you are insured for actual replacement value. Many people were not. Building prices have risen substantially more than housing values. Also, make a complete inventory of everything in your house with its initial cost and an estimate of its depreciated value. The insurance companies will require that. A video would be a good reference.
Vision, I'm so sorry your friends experienced that. You give some excellent advice. I've made sure our policy is replacement value and not actual (depreciated) value last year. I inventoried everything when we were moving in on an excel spreadsheet and took pictures -a copy of all files are off site. (Yes I was that paranoid moving in knowing we are in the forest.) We also have a few boxes of our stuff at our parents houses in Albuquerque that contain our kids coming home from the hospital clothes, some of their first pictures they created and some other heirlooms in case we lose everything else. In addition, we all have go bags for the whole family, a plan for the animals and a list on our phones in case we have an extra hour to "gather other stuff". There is no way I will remember what I should grab if I'm in panic mode. So my husband and I have it electronically in descending order so we don't have to think. Besides that, there isn't much else we can do but just hope and pray the season spares us.
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Old 04-16-2018, 10:56 PM
 
Location: Monument, CO
90 posts, read 100,407 times
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Awareness and preparedness. I’m calling my insurance company tomorrow to make sure my coverage is what it should be. Obviously, some of the concerns are that many people blatantly ignore burn bans, don’t think twice about flicking a cigarette butt out of the window, and our population swells with tourists in the summer. I think we can plan on a fireworks ban this year.

Last edited by jessicarae1060; 04-16-2018 at 10:57 PM.. Reason: Can’t spell!
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Old 04-17-2018, 07:20 AM
 
Location: Colorado Springs
2,668 posts, read 1,669,907 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
Does the nation need over 3000 counties? Does COLO need 64 counties? Does El Paso County need 20+ fire districts and 20+ school districts? Is anyone sick of paying for all that duplication?
I agree we could reduce some of the redundancies, but there are points where some granularity is required to address specific area differences. I think for collectives to work, whether they are school districts, fire districts, etc, you have to have a populace with similar goals all willing to agree to the similar compromises and contributions and methods to achieve the goal. Without that, it will just create more in-fighting.
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Old 04-17-2018, 01:10 PM
 
20,308 posts, read 37,797,930 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TCHP View Post
I agree we could reduce some of the redundancies, but there are points where some granularity is required to address specific area differences. I think for collectives to work, whether they are school districts, fire districts, etc, you have to have a populace with similar goals all willing to agree to the similar compromises and contributions and methods to achieve the goal. Without that, it will just create more in-fighting.
Yes. Fire departments should be the easiest to deal with first. Adopt national fire codes and standards to include for the time it takes to respond. Standardize equipment, facilities, training and procedures so that any firefighter can show up at any fire and know what to do and know how to use the gear on the trucks and how to fight whatever type of fire it is. I think people get oversold and hung up on "local control" as if fighting a grass or house fire is different on my property versus your property versus some other person's property.

We have one National Electrical Code (NEC) and it's done wonders for standardizing building codes everywhere. A trained electrician can show up anywhere and wire a new home to code. Parts are standardized nationwide so you can buy circuit breakers, etc, in any hardware store in America and know it's safe and it works. We need the same for fire codes and I suspect that's pretty standardized stuff too and is driven by both national fire department industry groups and the homeowners insurance industry as both have a stake in reducing hazards. But 26 fire districts, that's just nuts.
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Old 04-17-2018, 06:51 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,253 posts, read 3,953,040 times
Reputation: 9432
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
Yes. Fire departments should be the easiest to deal with first. Adopt national fire codes and standards to include for the time it takes to respond. Standardize equipment, facilities, training and procedures so that any firefighter can show up at any fire and know what to do and know how to use the gear on the trucks and how to fight whatever type of fire it is. I think people get oversold and hung up on "local control" as if fighting a grass or house fire is different on my property versus your property versus some other person's property.

We have one National Electrical Code (NEC) and it's done wonders for standardizing building codes everywhere. A trained electrician can show up anywhere and wire a new home to code. Parts are standardized nationwide so you can buy circuit breakers, etc, in any hardware store in America and know it's safe and it works. We need the same for fire codes and I suspect that's pretty standardized stuff too and is driven by both national fire department industry groups and the homeowners insurance industry as both have a stake in reducing hazards. But 26 fire districts, that's just nuts.
True, dat.

What makes the problem worse when it comes to homes in the wildland/urban interface is that you're not just dealing with your local fire department. Instead, you are dealing with state and federal agencies, as well. The US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management will probably be called in as well. If the fire is severe enough, an interagency hotshot crew or Forest Service smokejumpers may be called in, as well.

Structural fires are fought differently than wildfires. Instead of using fire engines and hoses to put out a fire, BLM and USFS crews dig fire-lines and use chainsaws and other tools to clear a swath of land around the active fire, thus depriving it of fuel. The Forest Service also uses slurry bombers to drop thousands of gallons of pink fire retardant on the areas where the fire is burning. Your local fire department tries to preserve structures; interagency fire crews focus on containment. Are we all confused yet?

The bottom line is that in the WUI, your local board of county commissioners are the ones with the authority to draw all the local fire districts together under one umbrella with a county-wide master plan for development and regulations concerning just where developers are and are not allowed to build homes. The county also has the power to enforce laws requiring home owners to clear dead trees and brush away from their properties and ensure that houses are built from fire resistant materials.

If I still lived in El Paso County, I would be present for every meeting of the county commissioners, writing letters to the editor of the Gazette, circulating petitions, etc. El Paso County commissioners have been almost criminal in their dereliction of duty to keep both city and county residents as safe from wildfire as possible. Those who are so vocal about being pro or anti growth just don't get it. Or if they do, they're in the developers hip pockets and like the financial incentives they receive to vote pro-growth and anti-tax no matter how dire the potential outcomes.

Even after two very destructive fires - one right after another - the people of the Pikes Peak Region and their elected officials seem to be in some sort of state of denial. Lightening doesn't just strike twice, it can strike many times over - just ask the people of California who watched their state go up in flames last summer.

For anyone who is interested, here's a map below of Colorado's Red Zones (areas at high risk for WUI wildfires) put out by the Colorado State Forestry Service.


Attached Thumbnails
Colorado faces a potentially devastating 2018 wildfire season!-redzones-colorado.jpg  
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Old 04-18-2018, 05:49 AM
 
5,006 posts, read 6,683,532 times
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Currently all the fires this season in El Paso County have been east of that interface. They've still been pretty devastating - homes have been lost, people have been injured, animals have died. El Paso County declares disaster, urges state to take command of defiant, wind-fueled blaze | Colorado Springs Gazette, News
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Old 04-18-2018, 01:10 PM
 
5,006 posts, read 6,683,532 times
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We came within 50 feet of losing a school yesterday. Hanover Junior-Senior High School barely spared from 117 fire | Colorado Springs Gazette, News

Poor Hanover - they lost several homes in this fire and also in one about a month back.
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