By Conor McCue

EVERGREEN, Colo. (CBS4) — As wind and heat created another critical day for fire danger Saturday, fire crews all over the state were working to make sure homeowners stayed ready. In Evergreen, most people don’t need a reminder of the danger, but it was still the topic of discussion at an event held for Wildfire Community Preparedness Day.

(credit: CBS)

“We have exhibits on defensible space, home hardening, evacuation notifications, go bags, all the things people need to be prepared to deal with wildfire,” said Cindy Latham, chair of Rotary Wildfire Ready. “When you talk to experts for this summer, it’s going to be drier, hotter and windier, so the wildfire conditions are going to be extreme this summer. We have to get ready.”

The event at Evergreen Fire Rescue was one of two community events held Saturday by nonprofit, Rotary Wildfire Ready. The other was earlier in the day in Conifer at the Elk Creek Fire Department.

Outside of the station, the talk was 911 notifications and go bags. Inside, Jessica Moore, the Evergreen Fire Protection District’s risk reduction coordinator, gave a seminar on home preparedness.

“Whether it’s placing the proper size vents on openings on their home, making sure they’ve got class a structured roof, making sure they’ve got good siding and that zero-to-five-foot combustible zone coming out from their structure, a lot of is about that education component,” Moore said.

On Saturday, Moore urged homeowners to create defensible space and remove hazards or fuels regularly, since wildfires are becoming more frequent and extreme.

“A lot of it is about that education component and helping people better understand the small things they can do that have big impact,” Moore said.
Soon, Evergreen Fire Rescue will offer free home assessments for wildfire preparedness. They’re also working with community ambassadors like Sherm Dougherty to spread information and awareness throughout the community.

“There’s nobody else that’s going to do it for us, so it has to be a community involved initiative,” Dougherty said.

For Dougherty, fire risk in his longtime home is nothing new, and neither are the protections anyone can put in place.

“There’s no reason to live here in fear, as long as you’re willing to put in a little bit of work,” he said.

Rotary Wildfire Ready plans to hold about eleven events this summer in partnership with different fire departments around the state. The next one will be late June at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

Conor McCue