May 31st marks the last day of National Wildfire Awareness Month. After a devastating fire season last year, Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed a proclamation declaring May as Wildfire Awareness Month at a state level, encouraging Colorado residents to prepare their homes and communities for wildfires in the coming months.
A Record-Breaking Wildfire Season
2020 was a record-breaking wildfire season. The state’s three largest-ever blazes, the Cameron Peak Fire, Pine Gulch Fire, and East Troublesome Fire, ignited within three months of each other during summer 2020. The Cameron Peak Fire alone burned 208,913 acres, becoming the first fire in Colorado’s history to burn more than 200,000 acres.
“We got four bags of clothes out of the house. Everything else is gone,” said a resident who lost their home in the 2020 fires.
Preparing for Disaster
With about half of all Coloradans – about 3 million people – living in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), it’s important for people to take action to reduce the risk wildfire poses to their homes and create more fire-adapted communities. The WUI is the area where structures and other human developments meet or intermingle with wildland vegetation. Structures in the WUI are at particular risk for wildfire.
The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control reports that June 2021 will have above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation. With ongoing drought across much of the state increasing the possibility of another challenging wildfire season in 2021, state and federal agencies that manage wildfires and forests are urging residents to join in efforts to reduce wildfire risk.
Resources to Protect Your Family and Your Home
- The Home Ignition Zone – Colorado State Forest Service
- Home Fire Protection in the Wildland Urban Interface – Colorado State Forest Service
- A Three-Part Video Series from CSU Extension:
- Preparing for Fire – CSU Extension
- Recovering from Fire – CSU Extension