October isn’t the typical time for Colorado homeowners to think about wildfires. However, the summer of 2016 wasn’t exactly a typical summer. With higher-than-normal temperatures and drought-like conditions in many parts of the West, parts of Colorado are still in danger of wildfires.
Although the winter should bring a welcome respite, Colorado’s fall might be a little touch and go in terms of fires. For instance, in mid-October of this year, the Junkins Fire burned down two homes and forced hundreds of southern Colorado residents to flee. As of October 18th, the fire still wasn’t out. This fire came on the heels of several major wildfires in July 2016.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep your home safe from any future wildfires. Starting this fall, make a solid plan to keep wildfires away from your house and learn what to do if a wildfire does strike any time of year. Along with talking about your landscape, we’ll talk specifically about your glass, including how it can protect you in a fire and how you can restore it if a fire does occur.
Update Your Windows
You already know that better-insulated windows have multiple benefits. They cut down your utility bills, keep your home at a comfortable temperature year-round, and give you a better look at your beautiful yard. Insulated windows also have many safety benefits: they’re harder to break and they’re better at keeping heat out of your home if a fire approaches.
Wildfires reach such high temperatures that even if they don’t catch your home on fire, the heat can still affect your possessions inside if the fire draws too near. Better windows won’t make all the difference between destroying your home and saving it, but along with your doors and the other outer surfaces of your home, they’ll act as a crucial first line of defense against fires.
Along with having well-insulated tempered windows, you want the seals around your windows to be airtight so they can keep out any smoke. Make sure your weather stripping is solid and your windows are leak-free.
Take Care of Your Landscape
In the late fall, you probably turn off your water and wait for the snow to transform your yard into a winter wonderland. Until that first snowfall, though, keep taking care of your lawn. Trim your grass frequently and dispose of the clippings instead of leaving them around the yard. If you have pine trees, you should also gather up the fallen needles.
Don’t wait until spring to remove any dead trees or dying shrubs. If a fire strikes this fall, you’ll want those trees to be long gone. In particular, make sure you remove any dead pine trees as soon as possible. Pines are popular in Colorado and well-suited to a high-altitude environment, but a spark can send a pine tree up in flames quickly.
Plant Native Trees
Trees that aren’t used to Colorado’s high elevation and relative dryness are harder to grow, require more water, and are generally more flammable than native trees. Native trees aren’t just easier to take care of—they’ll also suck up less water without contributing as much to a fire risk.
Many people think they have to wait until spring to plant trees—but fall is actually the perfect time to grow new things. As long as you plant before the first frost, your trees will have enough time to establish a firm root system. Surviving the winter also makes your tree even sturdier and stronger than it would be if you planted in the spring.
Fall is also the perfect time to restructure your landscape. You don’t want any flammable brush near your home. Make sure all shrubs and trees are at least 10 feet away from your home. For better protection, consider keeping shrubs and trees up to 30 feet away from your home.
Know What to Do in an Emergency
Hopefully, you won’t ever have to run from a wildfire, but no matter where you live in Colorado, it’s always better to be prepared. Make sure you have emergency kits with clothes, water bottles, a few days’ worth of any crucial medications, first-aid supplies, and copies of crucial documents that you and your family members can grab if you need to go in a hurry.
Before you leave, check your house to ensure that it’s secure and won’t let smoke in. Lock the doors and windows. Ensure your outside vents are covered in mesh so snow and sparks can’t get in.
What If Smoke and Fire Damage Your Property?
If your building experiences smoke or fire damage, you can’t take care of it on your own. A fire restoration company can help you remove smoke from your possessions. If the fire gets hot enough, it can blow out your windows, but hopefully, your tempered windows will do their part to keep the fire away.
If your windows are damaged by smoke and need replacement, or if you want to upgrade your windows to a safe, secure model, contact the professionals at Ken Caryl Glass, Inc. We’re here to satisfy all your glass-related needs, whether you want to improve your home’s appearance or add a custom shower door to your bathroom.
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