Update on 2018 Fire Season

Update on 2018 Fire Season

Despite an unusually dry climate this year in Colorado and much of the nation, our beautiful Genesee community was very fortunate in 2018 to have escaped with any fire incidents. Very effective Open Space programs, maintenance of defensible space (the area around our homes), our focus on cleanup of well-maintained trails, the voluntary efforts and overall diligence of our residents, have all made significant contributions to these results. The Genesee Fire & Safety Committee wishes to recognize all homeowners for your efforts!

Still, the risk of wildland fires is ever present, and we must remain diligent and prepared. Despite all of our mitigation efforts, there are uncontrollable acts of God, such as strong winds that dry out the landscape. The fires in California that sparked in November, and the speed with which they spread, remind us all of the importance to remain aware, and be proactive through household planning and working together. We should always be prepared for a potential evacuation, prioritizing what we would take, having a plan for family communication and a contingency plan with neighbors for pets, children or family members that need additional help should we not be at home when an evacuation is ordered. You should know that, should an evacuation order take place, our roads convert to one way, and that is OUT; the authorities will NOT allow anyone back in! The Woolsey, Hill, and Camp fires that started on November 8th and 9th were very tragic indeed. At the time of this writing, the three fires had claimed over 196,000 acres, 31 deaths and 6,630 homes as the fires continued to rage.  Malibu California was completely evacuated, and the city of Paradise was essentially destroyed.

As we look towards 2019, there are still lessons for us to learn and more work to be done. As you relax in front of your fireplace, it’s unlikely that you are thinking about your chimney. However, if you are not in the habit of having it inspected and/or cleaned on a regular basis, you will be inviting a chimney fire. These are slow-burning fires that don’t get enough air or fuel to be dramatic or visible. They are often undetected but they can cause serious damage to the chimney structure and nearby combustible parts of the house. Ensure the safety of your family and your home by having your chimney inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. More detailed information on chimney fires can be found at https://www.csia.org/chimneyfires.html.

The Fire & Safety section of the Genesee Foundation website has an Emergency Preparedness section, as well as useful links and information on Evacuations and Home and Property Protection. Be sure you are signed up for CodeRed (go to www.your911.net), the system Jefferson County uses to notify residents of an evacuation. Your landline is automatically registered (unless it is VOIP), but you need to register cell phone numbers.

I wish to thank the other members of the Fire & Safety committee for their contributions to this article.

Gary Rauchenecker| Fire and Safety Committee