Living in our mountain community and its wildlife is an enviable opportunity. However, it is not without its risks. One of the biggest concerns is wildfire. While we can’t eliminate this risk entirely we can minimize its destruction of our property (mainly our biggest investment – our homes) by taking some simple steps. In order to develop a community effort to deal with this issue your DLPOA Board has chosen to use the Firewise USA program.
We have determined the following action items that will aid in our wildfire mitigation efforts:
- Green Iridescent Address Signs. These signs allow our 1st responders (Fire Fighters, Medical Provider and Law Enforcement) to quickly respond to any emergency. If you do not currently have a green address sign at your Dory Lakes Residence and would like one, please contact Mary Mohn with the High Country Auxillary. Mary prefers to be emailed at email@example.com, but will take phone requests at 612-702-9852. Please leave a detailed message. Homeowners ordering signs need to reference this newsletter, provide your name, contact information, Dory Lakes residence address and a preference as to vertical or horizontal sign orientation (for mounting on a pole/tree). Mary will coordinate delivery/pickup of the signs. The installation of these signs is the responsibility of the resident/homeowner. The signs should be located near the driveway entrance, capable of being read when approaching from either direction, and mounted about 4 feet above the ground (so they are not covered up by snow plows).
Residents that already have these signs will be credited $15 off your 2020 POA dues.
- The DLPOA Board will add community maps in bulletin boards at both entrances (Highway 119 & Highway 46) clearly showing both entrances and exits to the development. We will also aim to add a “fire danger level” hazard sign at the Highway 46 entrance.
- Trim all branches on your driveways. Fire trucks are big and if they can’t get to your house they can’t help you. Timberline requires a 12 ft. wide by 14 ft. high access path.
- Survey your property and remove any unneeded items including construction materials, non-working vehicles, unused fencing, unused barrels, nonworking appliances, trash, etc. Gilpin County offers residents free collection of recyclable materials, disposal of appliances and hazardous materials for a fee, and a free token for 5 cubic yards of waste per year – for details, see: http://www.gilpincounty.org/departments/public_works/trash_slash_recycle_info
- Remove all combustible material at least 10 feet away from propane tanks. Keep all barbecue grills indoors when not in use – the propane bottles are a fire hazard (and outside barbecues are a bear attractant).
- Check to make sure your house has sufficient working smoke alarms, CO monitors and fire extinguishers.
- Clean your chimney at least once per year – reduced rates/costs may be available if multiple residents join together to hire a contractor.
- Remove all needles, leaves and any combustible material from your roof, gutters and adjacent to your house (including outbuildings) which can act a kindling. Wildfires spread a lot of glowing embers ahead of the flame front which can ignite homes. Treat any attached wooden fencing or outbuildings as you would your house (or install a non-combustible fire break adjacent to your house). Move all combustible materials (including non-garaged vehicles) at least 15 feet from your house.
- Remove as many conifers adjacent to your house as possible. Any favorite trees remaining will need to be treated as you treat your house. Aspen trees aren’t nearly as hazardous as conifers but close aspen trees will deposit combustible leaves in gutters and around your house.
- Move all fire wood at least 30 feet from your house.
- Remove dead trees and trim the lower branches on all remaining trees on your property to 8 to 10 feet off the ground to prevent ground fires from moving into the trees.
- Dory Lakes is developing a list of volunteers who will help other residents or property owners with tree removal for the fire wood contained in the removed trees. Contact a board member if you would like to be a volunteer or would like some help with tree removal. Gilpin County provides free slash disposal (no stumps) during the summer.
- While full protection of each home has its own unique challenges, we have attempted to list the basics above which should apply to all homes. However, homes located on steep terrain (and other property specific issues) require additional considerations and efforts. For a free, complete property specific wildfire assignment please contact Ben Pohl with Colorado State Forest Service at 303-823-5774 ext 3. He may also be reached at Ben.Pfohl@colstate.edu.
- Gilpin County Wildfire Protection Plan: http://www.gilpincounty.org/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=11103339
- Colorado State Forest Service Creating Wildfire-Defensible Zones https://static.colostate.edu/client-files/csfs/pdfs/FIRE2012_1_DspaceQuickGuide.pdf
- While some homeowners can complete these items themselves, others cannot – resources and recommendations can be found at “List of Local Service Providers” located on the Gilpin County Community Development website: http://gilpincounty.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_9285172/File/Depts/CommunityDevelopment/Local%20Providers%202017.pdf
*If there are a number of residents that need similar work performed, neighbors could probably get reduced costs/rates by offering the contractor several similar jobs in the community (chimney cleaning, hazardous tree removal, etc.). Consider discussing your plans with your neighbors, or join us at our next board meeting to discuss.