Many of you are probably (even if barely) aware that Colorado is kindof all ablaze again this year.
For me, it is really hard to watch the coverage because I'm so far from home and a lot of the talking heads are helpless to say much more then "yup, it's still on fire out here."
When a good piece of information comes along though, I'm encouraged and eager to share it. Not simply because my brother is in the business of helping make people safe from fires, and not simply because I am heartbroken at the thought of ANYONE losing a home full of treasures and memories. Those are big parts of it, though. Damn this bleeding heart, this empathy-addled heart of mine. (not really)
So anyway, yes. My big brother is the man who educates the folks who live in the mountains about how to keep their homes safer in the event of a wild fire. There are no guarantees, of course, but there are ways to make it better for you and your home when living in nature's equivalent of a pile of matches in the sun at a fireworks factory. For instance, fire loves fuel right? Fuel is trees and dry grass right? AND fuel is that lovely little juniper bush nestled sweetly next to your front door. Of your log cabin. With the un-rained-on kentucky bluegrass out front. Fire looks at that little scene and goes "oh yummy, kentucky fuelfuel for dinner, juniper-gas-can-cake for desert, and a big fat pine-y-fuel-orgy cabin thereafter!"
Things we, as homeowners do, can interrupt that little thought process. Cutting wild trees on your property that TOUCH or reach over your home, for instance. Sure, it's not romantic and woodsy like that... but then neither is a pile of black ash and three years' of insurance haggling. Using stones to mulch-in path around your house like a moat can interrupt the fire as it gobbles up the dry dry grass. Xeriscaping ALONE can do wonders.
You know what? I could talk for days about this. It's my brother's JOB (he actually gets paid) to do this and his work will never ever EVER be done.
And a picture is worth a thousand words.
So how about I throw a few thousand pictures at you in the form of this little video - which is as informative as it is excellently produced - to help us all learn about what the firemen (and women) go through to save one single house. One house, by the way, that already has excellent mitigation and fire-safety plans in place on the property. Five minutes of your time, ladies and gentlemen. Please take this time as your "Smokey Bear" awareness moment for today.
And if you're in Colorado, keep a weather-eye on the horizon, kids. Stay safe out there!
Saving a Home in a Forest Fire