Cherokee Ranch Fire October 2003 as seen from Berganot Trail in Castle Pines North
by Terri Wiebold
One of the features about Castle Pines North (CPN) that attracts residents to live in this community is its abundance of open space and natural surroundings. With that beauty often comes hazardous conditions, such as the potential for wildland fires. CPN residents who were told to evacuate the area in the Cherokee Fire of 2003 know all too well the hazards involved.
Often times, the best defense for homeowners in a wildland fire is to ensure the creation of a “defensible space” around homes with potential fire exposures.
Defensible space is a 70-100 foot zone around structures where vegetation has been thinned and enough space has been created for fire equipment to work safely and to slow down the spread of fire.
South Metro Fire Rescue has set forth some guidelines in establishing defensible space:
Prune tree limbs at least 10 feet off the ground
Remove limbs extending over the roof
Remove all flammable materials from under wood decks
Thin out grass, weeds, or brush - such as scrub oak
Remove dead wood and slash piles
Creating an environment of controlled defensible space surrounding a home does not mean cutting down all the trees and brush. It means being prepared and creating the best odds for survival in a hazardous situation.
For additional suggestions on wildfire mitigation measures, contact South Metro Fire Rescue at 720-488-7221.