Igniting Wildfire Awareness: Preparing Colorado Communities for Wildfires

 In Community Protection, Events, Fire Adapted Colorado, Fire Adapted Communities, Home Protection, Partnerships & Community Engagement, Resident Mitigation, Safety & Evacuation

image of a calendar with Saturday May 4th circledAs the calendar flips to May, the arrival of Wildfire Community Preparedness Day and Wildfire Awareness Month serves as a poignant reminder for Coloradans. In a state where living with wildfire has become a year-round reality, proactive measures are essential to mitigate risks and safeguard communities against the growing threat of wildfires.

Spearheaded by the National Fire Protection Association® (NFPA®) and State Farm®, Wildfire Community Preparedness Day celebrates its 10th anniversary on Saturday, May 4th. This annual event brings together individuals and organizations to join forces in reducing wildfire hazards. Concurrently, Wildfire Awareness Month amplifies the call for community empowerment and preparedness in the face of wildfires.

For Colorado Wildfire Mitigation Professionals, these initiatives underscore the urgent need for collective action. With a climate growing hotter and drier, and half of Colorado’s population living in close proximity to wildlands, fortifying homes and communities against wildfires is not just a one-day or one-month endeavor—it’s a year-round commitment.

Fire Adapted Colorado was thrilled to receive a $10,000 award from the National Fire Protection Association® supported by State Farm® to help accomplish Wildfire Community Preparedness Day projects this Spring. With notification coming in the middle of providing Neighborhood Ambassador orientation training on coordinating and leading wildfire mitigation efforts to 74 WUI residents, we quickly turned around the opportunity for these Ambassadors to propose spring mitigation and training projects along with their neighborhood launch plans. We’ll provide financial awards to 14 projects, including installing address signage, an evacuation drill, HIZ evaluation, and vegetation management around homes and condominiums, roadside thinning projects, chipping projects, and a fire fair. Volunteer coordinators with Boulder Watershed Collective and Boulder Fire Rescue, Eagle County and Roaring Fork Valley Wildfire Collaborative, Routt County Wildfire Council, Spanish Peaks Alliance for Wildfire Protection, Two Rivers Wildfire Coalition and our super volunteers in the Colorado Springs area are supporting these projects. Wildfire Adapted Partnership sent a few Ambassadors to the orientation and also received an NFPA® award to sponsor projects with their extensive group of Neighborhood Ambassadors.


Local jurisdictions and political subdivisions wanting to declare May as Wildfire Awareness Month locally, can adopt this sample resolution.


Here are some actionable steps every Coloradan can take to enhance wildfire preparedness:

  1. Review Home Ignition Zone Checklists: Evaluate your property’s vulnerability to wildfire by examining Home Ignition Zone Checklists. Take recommended actions to minimize risks, including clearing vegetation, maintaining gutters, and using fire-resistant materials.
  2. Evaluate Insurance Coverage: Understand the fundamentals of homeowners’ or renters’ insurance and review your policy to ensure adequate coverage for wildfire-related damages. Consult with insurance agents to address any coverage gaps and explore options for risk mitigation.
  3. Create an Evacuation Plan: Develop a comprehensive evacuation plan and prepare a go-bag containing essential items. Establish a family emergency communication plan to ensure everyone knows what to do in the event of a wildfire evacuation.
  4. Prepare & Protect Indoor Air Quality before a Wildfire:   Limit your exposure to smoke by trying to stay in well-insulated buildings, preferably those with high efficiency (HEPA) filters. Smoke Ready & Air Now provide resources you can reference to protect your health.
  5. Stay Informed with Alerts: Sign up for alerts specific to your area in Colorado. As wildfire crosses jurisdiction boundaries, multiple alerting authorities may be involved, with varying location dependent messages.
  6. Stay Informed with Apps: Utilize applications such as AirNow, Watch DutyNWS watches and warnings, and InciWeb, as sources of trusted information to maintain situational awareness.
  7. Research Fire Restrictions: Familiarize yourself with fire restrictions applicable to your location, as they will vary across jurisdictions, including fire protection districts, federal, state, and local lands. Properly extinguish campfires

Additionally, here are some resources to help you prepare before, during, and after a wildfire:
Home Ignition Zone graphic and strategies list for zone 1. Link to Colorado State HIZ Guide .pdf file

As we navigate the complexities of living in a fire-prone environment, collaboration emerges as our strongest ally. By fostering a culture of preparedness and resilience, we can fortify Colorado communities against the impacts of wildfires. Let’s ignite wildfire awareness and empower each other to safeguard our homes, neighborhoods, and state. Together, with vigilance, unity, and determination, we can weather the fire season and build a fire-adapted Colorado.

Stay safe, stay informed, and let’s work together to protect our communities.