DENVER, CO – A staggering 332,716 homes in Colorado are at risk of burning in wildfires, according to a yearly report released by CoreLogic. This frightening figure puts the state second only to California in the number of homes at risk. With the cost to rebuild these homes estimated at $141 billion, the issue has become a pressing concern for homeowners and authorities alike.
The majority of the homes at risk are located in the Denver and Colorado Springs metro areas, not traditionally considered mountain communities. The report estimates 69,284 homes in the Denver area and 51,321 homes in the Colorado Springs area face the highest risk. Other significant areas include Fort Collins with 14,352 homes, Boulder with 9,754 homes (where the Marshall Fire occurred in December 2021), and Pueblo with 3,242 homes.
Reasons for the Growing Threat
The “inflated cost” of wildfires, as the report terms it, is attributed to the rising cost of reconstruction materials and labor. Increasingly, homes are being constructed in Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) areas, making them more susceptible to wildfires. A July 2022 ranking for the U.S. Forest Service placed Evergreen and Morrison at the top of the fireshed list in the Rocky Mountain region, encompassing Colorado and parts of four other western states.
Colorado’s alarming figures are overshadowed only by California, where 1.28 million homes are listed as in danger, including 242,187 in the Los Angeles area alone. The alarming numbers across the nation underscore the need for comprehensive measures to tackle this growing threat.
Wildfire Prevention and Safety Tips
With such a considerable risk facing Colorado homeowners, wildfire prevention and safety have become paramount. Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Create a Defensible Space: Maintain a minimum 30-foot clearance from flammable materials around homes.
- Use Fire-Resistant Building Materials: Choose roofing and siding materials that can withstand high heat.
- Observe Local Burning Regulations: Always adhere to local regulations for outdoor burning and campfires.
- Develop an Evacuation Plan: Prepare a well-organized evacuation plan for your family, including pets.
- Maintain Landscaping: Regularly trim trees and shrubs near buildings to minimize potential fire fuels.
By adhering to these measures, homeowners can reduce their risk and contribute to the overall safety of their communities.