Firefighters Calling on Homeowners to Protect Homes from Wildfires

By: Jessica Zartler Email
By: Jessica Zartler Email

Wildfire season is just around the corner but firefighters are calling on homeowners to act now to protect their homes.

At workshop in Rifle on Saturday, they said people living on the Western Slope are more at risk and firefighters say your best defense against fire is a good offense.

Kristen Reker is like every other mom when it comes to her list of worries but she's new to the area and for the first time she's adding wildfires to that list.

"I have a lot of animals. I raise sheep and I have dogs and a lot of structures but mainly I worry about my house and keeping my family safe," Reker told 11 News on Saturday.

She bought 40 acres in Rifle and says she's got a lot of work to clear fire hazards.

"Nothing has been done for the last 20 years and we're concerned with it."

And that's what brought Reker and several other homeowners to a workshop at the Colorado Mountain College West Garfield Campus on Saturday.

In one exercise, firefighters pointed out sage grasses and other fuels that can be a danger around homes and gave a presentation on what people can do to help prevent fires like this from spreading to their home.

It's something Rifle Fire Protection District Prevention Chief Kevin Whelan say alot of people don't think about.

"A spark can get onto a woodpile, into combustible materials closer to the home and threaten the structure," Whelan told 11 News on Saturday.

He says clearing dry brush and fuels, stacking firewood away from your house and building with less combustible materials are things homeowners can do right now to make a huge difference. He says a little work goes a long way.

"It's either spend it now or spend it later and we don't want to see any homes and lives at risk."

And neither does Kristen Reker who says Saturday's workshop was a wake up call.

"As far as safety goes, I feel we're probably at 40 percent. I would like to get to one hundred percent," said Reker.

So when she gets her home fire ready, she can check one worry off of her list.

Fire officials say there is money and tax credit available when you do wildfire mitigation to your property.

For more information on how to get your hands on the goods, call your local fire district.


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