Residents fighting Marshall’s Fire.
(Colorado Springs) — As wildfires in the West increase in size, intensity, and destruction, fire leaders in fire-prone communities are stopping.
National Fire Leaders stop in Colorado Springs to highlight the challenges of wildfires and steps to reduce fire risks in local communities. The tour brings together local, state, and national fire leaders.
In 2022, there will be more than 1.2 million fires nationwide, not to mention the 66,000 wildfires that have burned more than 7.5 million acres. Last year, we lost nearly 2,500 people in a fire, including 276 children and 96 firefighters,” said Dr. Laurie Moore Merrill, US Fire Director.
Dr. Moore-Merrill says making sure homes and neighborhoods are fireproof is a whole community approach.
“Because a lot of times it’s not just your house. It’s the embers that are spreading from someone else’s house that’s burning that’s setting your house on fire right now. The federal government can’t do it alone. Our firefighters, we certainly don’t have enough in This country to fight this problem.
Colorado has seen the most destructive fires in state history in the past few years, including the Marshall Fire in Boulder County.
“It was a drought-driven fire caused by weeds. The fire that has destroyed more than a thousand homes is exactly the type of fire we are talking about,” said Dr. Moore-Merrill.
Only three cities have been chosen for this national fire education roundup: Colorado Springs, Boise, and Sacramento.
“Coming to Colorado to shine a spotlight, as we are constantly surveying forest areas, fire-prone areas and building communities,” said Dr. Moore-Merrill.
Millions of homes have been built within the Colorado woods in an area known as Wildland-Urban interface.
The Colorado Forest Service says that number has continued to rise, as more homes are built in fire-prone areas.
“We have a bushfire problem as climate change continues to grow. As we build properties, we want materials that are flame retardant. We want to make sure you understand the right building materials, that you understand proper spacing and the landscaping materials to use,” said Dr Moore Merrill.
One simple way to find out about fire hazards around your home, and things you can change to make it more resilient, is with this free app Wildfire home safety program. All you have to do is hold your phone up in front of your home or business and it will start highlighting the areas with the highest wildfire risk.
“We are doing our job Coexistence with Wildfire series now. Education is really the most important thing. We want to try to stand on the front side of the fires. How are we ready? Do we have a plan if there is a fire in the area? “One of the big things we always try to push is early reporting if you see smoke or a fire,” said Capt. Mike Smaldino, Colorado Springs Fire Department.