Wildfire “Defensible Space”

Summer season is wildfire season in the American West, and especially so here in the Colorado Rockies. We’ll be discussing wildfires and wildfire preparedness on our blog over the next coming weeks, starting with this week’s post on “defensible space.”

So what is defensible space, as it pertains to wildfires? Defensible space refers to the area around your property. You can maintain this space to reduce the risk of damage to your home in the event of a wildfire in your area. Defensible space can be divided into several zones around your home.

“Zone 1” of wildfire defensible space is the land immediately surrounding your home or property, roughly a 30-foot radius around the structure. For this Zone 1 area, it’s important to:

• Remove all dead plants, grass, leaves, and other debris that could potentially ignite and burn.
• Trim trees regularly. Keep branches at least 10 feet from other trees, so as to deter the potential spread of flames. It’s particularly important to trim trees that may hang over your home, and especially trim them away from around your chimney.
• Keep firewood piles, propane tanks, and other potentially flammable materials out of Zone 1 and at a safe distance from your home.
• Separate trees, shrubs, and plants from any structures or features that have the potential to burn – patio furniture, swing sets, gazebos, and the like.

“Zone 2” of wildfire defensible space refers to the area roughly 30-100 feet from your home. To reduce the hazard potential of this zone, remember to:

• Cut/mow grass down to 4” or less.
• Create space between trees and shrubs, again as a means to prevent flames from potentially spreading. Consider both “horizontal” space from one tree to the next, as well as “vertical” space between shorter shrubs and taller trees.
• Remove fallen leaves, pine needles and cones, twigs, bark, and other natural debris that could potentially act as tinder.
• If you have a fire pit (in any “zone” of your property), particularly remember to keep the area around the pit clear of potentially flammable materials or debris, and to remove close or low-hanging trees and plants.


These are just a few tips to help prepare your property for a potential wildfire. These measures reduce the risk of a potential wildfire in your area spreading across your property. Check out this helpful infographic at www.readyforwildfire.org for more info.

Of course, should the unthinkable happen, RMCat is ready to help you at a moment’s notice. We can help mitigate and repair damage from fires, smoke, water, or even mold and radon. In the event of an emergency, call us 24/7 at 970.531.7308 in Grand County or at 970-819-1239 in Routt County. We are here to help!