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Colorado State Publications Blog

Wildfire Information

Here’s where to go to get the latest on the multiple wildfires burning across the state:

Additionally, here are some helpful publications and websites:

Spring Fire, July 3, 2018. Photo courtesy Colorado Division of Fire Protection & Control.
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Colorado State Publications Blog

Get Ready for Wildfire Season

With this past winter being relatively dry, fire danger is expected to be higher than usual this year, especially in areas of lower elevation.  The State of Colorado has numerous resources to help you prepare.

  • This consumer alert from the Colorado Division of Insurance will help you determine if your property is adequately insured.
  • The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention & Control offers a helpful Wildfire Information Resource Center website. Here you can find information on education and public awareness, preparedness and mitigation, fire bans and restrictions, and information on any current fires.
  • READYColorado’s wildfire page also has many helpful tips. 
  • The Colorado State Forest Service’s Wildfire Mitigation website is another helpful resource.  Here you can find information on how to protect your home, as well as about wildfire education programs that can help communities prepare.  Also, you can use their Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal to help determine if you are at risk.
  • Planning for Hazards: Wildfire is a resource from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs that can help communities plan for wildfire.

Be sure also to check out these helpful state publications:

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Colorado State Publications Blog

September is National Preparedness Month

The recent hurricane events have demonstrated the importance of being prepared for disaster.  Even though we don’t get hurricanes in our state, there are a number of other disasters to prepare for — including both natural disasters (floods, fires, tornadoes, storms, avalanches, rockslides) and manmade disasters (terrorism, active shooters, power outages).  There are many personal incidents to prepare for as well — illness, identity theft, personal safety, home protection, and more.  ReadyColorado.com, sponsored by Colorado’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, can help you prepare for hazards large and small.

On the site you can find resources on how to create a preparedness plan for your home or office; how to stay informed of emergencies in your area; a calendar of events and training; 8 signs of terrorism; a natural hazards map; pet safety; resources for educators; resources for people with disabilities; and a blog.  Recent entries in their blog include a wide variety of topics including pedestrian safety, business continuity planning, bears, immunizations, heatstroke prevention, campfire safety, internet safety, and drone safety.  Before the next disaster – personal or community-wide – affects you, check out this informative site.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Disaster Preparedness for Pets

‘Tis the season for fires and floods, and if a disaster threatens your home and family, your furry pals will be affected, too.  According to the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM), “one of the biggest reasons people return to danger/evacuation zones is to save their pets.”  DHSEM and the state’s emergency preparedness website, ReadyColorado.com, recently offered some recommendations on helping prepare your pets for an evacuation:

  • Build a Kit. Just like we should do for ourselves, create a 72-hour preparedness kit for your pet. Make sure they have extra food, water, medications and toys in case you are unable to get to a store or are forced to evacuate on short notice. 

  • Have a Plan. Your plan needs to include how you will transport your animals in an evacuation, possible routes you will take and your destination or sheltering options. Know which friends, relatives, boarding facilities or animal shelters can care for your animals in an emergency. Have a list of phone numbers readily available.

  • Know Your Neighbors. Meet your neighbors before a disaster strikes and develop a neighborhood plan for pet assistance. If a disaster occurs while you are at work or away from home you may need assistance from a neighbor in reaching your pets.

  • Pets Feel Stress Too. When you are stressed, your pet will feel that stress too and they can act out because of this. Having a plan in place for your pet before an emergency will help lessen the stress for both of you.

For further information, see the publications Providing for Pets During Disasters and Animal Issues in Emergency Management, available from our library.


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Colorado State Publications Blog

2017 Colorado Wildfire Outlook

On April 14 the Governor and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention & Control (DFPC) presented on the outlook for the 2017 wildfire season.  “The number, intensity, and complexity of wildfires in Colorado have been growing exponentially, and experts predict that it will continue to worsen,” notes the Department of Public Safety’s press release.

Each year the DFPC submits a Wildfire Preparedness Plan to the governor.  These plans are available from our library.  You can search our library’s online catalog for numerous other resources on Colorado wildfire preparation, response, and recovery.

The High Park Fire, June 2012, in Larimer County. 

Photo by Sgt. Jesica Geffre, U.S. Army/Colorado National Guard, via Wikipedia

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Colorado State Publications Blog

2016 Wildfires — Disaster Recovery

Junkins Fire.

Were you affected by the recent Junkins Fire, Beulah Hill Fire, or Hayden Pass Fire?  The Governor has declared a disaster emergency for each of these wildfires.  Of the three recent fires, the Junkins Fire was the most destructive, destroying nine homes and nine other structures.  And with the recent warm, dry weather, there is potential for more fires.

Following Colorado’s September 2013 flood disaster, the Governor established the Colorado Resiliency & Recovery Office.  Their website, coloradounited.com, offers helpful resources for Coloradans affected by all types of disasters, including the recent wildfires.  In the Recovery section of the website, you can find information on temporary housing and rebuilding your home; FEMA assistance, insurance, and other financial information for individuals and businesses; mental health counseling; legal assistance; and much more.  The website is also a helpful resource for obtaining information on disaster mitigation.  Coloradans can also visit readycolorado.com to learn about preparedness.  The Colorado Resiliency & Recovery Office is also working with local governments to streamline disaster mitigation, response and recovery services.  Check out coloradounited.com to see what is happening in your community, and how you can get involved.

Junkins Fire photo courtesy Colorado Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Preparing for Wildfire Season

Colorado has already seen several small wildfires this spring, and the dry weather suggests that wildfires may be a problem as spring moves into summer.  Numerous Colorado state agencies have provided helpful websites and resources to help property owners, first responders, decision makers, and others prepare for what could be an active wildfire season.
The Colorado Division of Insurance has produced several resources for homeowners living in potential wildfire zones.  Their website Take 5…To Prepare for Wildfire Season encourages homeowners to prepare by checking their homeowners’ insurance policy; clear dead leaves, wood, and pine needles away from property; prepare a home inventory; and make sure you are up-to-date on any defensible space and mitigation requirements.  The site also offers tools and apps to help with the preparation of a home inventory — don’t wait until your home is gone to try to remember what was in it!
The Colorado State Forest Service has a wealth of information on their website regarding wildfire preparations.  The Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal is designed both for property owners and for emergency professionals.  By selecting their user type, users can find resources on Colorado wildland fires and the risks of the wildfire-urban interface.  Property owners can use the website to help determine if they are at risk, while emergency management professionals and local governments can register to receive help with wildfire planning.  Also, the “support” section of the website provides links to valuable resources including fact sheets for wildfire protection planning, “firewise” construction, and protecting your home from wildfire.  The site also provides samples and templates to help communities create their own wildfire plans.  Additional resources can be found on the Colorado State Forest Service’s Publications webpage.
The Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM), a unit of the Colorado Department of Public Safety, provides valuable public information on disasters and emergencies, including wildfires.  DHSEM publishes a blog, www.coemergency.com, which is also updated through Facebook and Twitter to provide the most up-to-date information.  Also be sure to visit their website’s preparedness page for information on community planning, grants, training exercises, critical infrastructure protection, and more.

The new Colorado Wildfire Watch app.
Also housed within the Department of Public Safety is the Division of Fire Prevention and Control, which is the main statewide wildfire planning agency; they also deal with fire codes and regulations for construction and for public buildings such as schools and hospitals.  Their Wildland Fire Management page includes such resources as the state wildfire plans; information on prescribed burning; information on firefighting aircraft; and a new Colorado Wildfire Watch app, available for Apple and Android.
As we saw with the Lower North Fork Fire, controlled burns can quickly become out-of-control if proper precautions are not taken.  In addition to requiring smoke permits for prescribed burns, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) also offers preparedness information for the day of the burn, including how to determine if the conditions are right for a burn, and how to monitor the burn and smoke.  CDPHE’s website also includes tips on how to protect your health from wood smoke, and how to check the current air quality in event of wildfire.
The Governor and Legislature have also set up several committees and task forces for dealing with wildfire issues.  The Governor established the Task Force on Wildfire Insurance and Forest Health in 2013, while the General Assembly’s Wildfire Matters Review Committee met over the summer of 2014 to discuss legislation needed to help prepare for and combat wildfires.
Lastly, be sure and visit our library’s web catalog to search for additional preparedness resources as well as reports on past fires.

fire near a building that appears to be wrapped in aluminum foil
This homeowner evidently took some significant steps to protect his property. The tree touching the roof, however, is probably not a good idea. Photo courtesy Colorado State Forest Service.
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Colorado State Publications Blog

Preparedness Factsheets

The Colorado Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management and www.readycolorado.gov, the State’s official preparedness website, are offering a set of fact sheets or “preparedness bulletins” on the Division’s website.  Intended for general audiences, the bulletins are quick summaries on how to prepare for a variety of disasters, including avalaches, earthquakes, electrical outages, fires and floods, landslides, winter storms, and more. 

One particularly timely fact sheet is about holiday cooking safety.  Check out this quick two-pager to find out about how to safely prepare your holiday meals.  The fact sheet offers tips on food safety; cooking with children; and how to avoid burns and cooking fires.  For example, did you know that it is dangerous to use extension cords for cooking appliances?  The fact sheet tells us that they could overload electrical circuits and cause fires.  More about home fires can be found in the bulletin on that topic.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Fire Safety Laws for Schools

Following a tragic fire that took the lives of 92 children and 3 teachers on December 1, 1958, building codes and fire safety laws for school buildings were greatly expanded and new safety requirements have continued to be added over the years.  The 1958 fire, at Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago, remains one of the nation’s most disastrous fires in terms of lives lost.  Some of the  basic precautions that seem so obvious today, such as doors in stairwells, could have saved numerous lives had they been used in that school. 
 
Here in Colorado, the Division of Fire Prevention and Control oversees fire-safe construction and safety inspections for Colorado public schools.  On their website you can find links to Colorado school construction codes and safety laws, as well as FAQs, forms, and other helpful resources.  School administrators can also request an inspection for their school by visiting this site.  The Division has also teamed up with the Colorado School Safety Resource Center to bring you the School Safety Assistance Guide, which outlines the role of the Division in keeping schools and students safe from fires.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

September is National Preparedness Month

Communities and individuals are better able to withstand disasters when they are prepared, whether it is by clearing the area around a structure at risk of wildfire; purchasing flood insurance; participating in a community-wide exercise; monitoring homeland security threats; or even keeping a snow shovel and blanket in your car during winter.  The State of Colorado has produced many informational resources on how communities and families can be prepared.  The State’s preparedness website, www.readycolorado.com, is full of useful information.  Other helpful resources include:

WILDFIRES

FLOODS

DROUGHT

PANDEMIC/EPIDEMIC

HOMELAND SECURITY/TERRORISM

WINTER STORMS

PERSONAL/HOME/CONSUMER

SCHOOL SAFETY

GENERAL RESOURCES


Search our web catalog for additional documents.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Fireworks Safety, Rules, and Laws

This Friday will be the Fourth of July, and many people like to celebrate Independence Day with fireworks.  Be sure you know the rules about fireworks in Colorado, however, before you buy or use illegal fireworks.  It is also important to understand the fire safety risks of using fireworks. 

Fireworks sales and displays are regulated by the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.  If you are or would like to become a fireworks retailer or a pyrotechnics operator for professional shows, you can find the applications here.  The site also includes a permit application for a site to display fireworks, and listings of the rules and statutes regarding fireworks in Colorado.

The State has published several helpful resources for Coloradans about home use of fireworks.  Be sure to check out the Colorado Legislative Council’s Issue Brief, The Sale and Use of Fireworks in Colorado.  To find out about disposal of fireworks, click here for information from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.  Finally, many pets have a fearful reaction to fireworks.  For more on pets and fireworks, see this article from Colorado State University.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal

The Colorado State Forest Service at Colorado State University has released a new online tool, the Colorado Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal, or CO-WRAP.  This website is designed to help those living in the wildland-urban interface understand the level of wildfire risk to their property.  Using maps and data, the site assesses the risk to a particular area based on historical fire occurrences, landscape characteristics, effects of past wildfires, and the fire intensity scale (a system of quantifying the projected intensity of a fire in a particular area).  If you live or own property in a potential wildfire zone, check out this helpful resource today.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Wildfire Preparedness

http://dfs.state.co.us/programs-2/emergency-management/wildland-fire-managementAs Colorado heads into wildfire season, the Department of Public Safety’s Division of Fire Prevention and Control has issued several new publications including the 2014 Wildfire Preparedness Plan.  The Plan, submitted to the Governor and Legislature, addresses the amount of aerial firefighting resources needed; the availability of firefighting equipment and personnel; processes for resource mobilization; and recommendations on the use of the Wildfire Preparedness Fund

Additionally, the importance of keeping controlled burns under control has prompted the Division to issue a new 2014 Prescribed Fire Planning & Implementation Guide, also available on their publications website.  This helpful website also offers information on permitting for controlled burns; how to protect your home and property from wildfire; and wildfire costs and financial information.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Firefighting Air Fleet

On Monday (May 12, 2014), the governor signed a bill creating the state’s first firefighting air fleet. The bill (SB 14-164) approves appropriations to purchase two high-technology fire-detecting aircraft and also contract with up to four firefighting helicopters and four single-engine air tankers. The fleet will aid in early detection of wildfires, and improve the response time in suppressing fires.

The Colorado Firefighting Air Corps website has a lot of information on the bill, and conversations/reports leading up to it’s passage.

Also, in March the Division of Fire Prevention and Control released a “report to the Governor and General Assembly on strategies to enhance the state’s aerial firefighting capabilities” entitled: Special Report: Colorado Firefighting Air Corps. This report gives a summary of current wildfire conditions in Colorado, and has a detailed breakdown of the recommendations presented to the legislature.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Flood and Wildfire Awareness Week

In 2013 Colorado experienced the twin disasters of wildfires and floods on an especially large scale.  Now, it is time to take the lessons learned from these disasters and prepare for this year, as summer — fire and flood season — is just a few months away.  Therefore, this week has been designated Colorado Flood and Wildfire Awareness Week.  Both the Colorado Office of Emergency Management and NOAA have prepared instructional resources for Colorado citizens to learn about preparing for floods and fires — click on the hyperlinks for information from each agency. 

In addition, you can find a great deal of information on Colorado fires and floods in our library.  Search our web catalog for resources, including information on the 2013 fires and floods, such as the Wildfire Insurance and Forest Health Task Force Report, issued in September 2013.  Check back often, as new reports on the 2013 floods are being issued and will be cataloged by our library as they become available.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Colorado Wildfire Resources

From the State of Colorado homepage, www.colorado.gov:

Colorado Wildfire Resources

Information on current Colorado wildfires can be obtained from the following websites, which are updated regularly during incidents:

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Today at the Legislature: Fire and Ferrets

Today the Colorado Senate will be debating SB13-083, which creates a Prescribed Burning Program under the Colorado Dept. of Public Safety.  The creation of this program is due to last spring’s disastrous Lower North Park Fire in Jefferson County, which started when a controlled burn went out-of-control.  (Read the Dept. of Natural Resources’ official review on the Lower North Fork Fire here).  The Dept. of Public Safety has been undergoing changes as fire, homeland security, and emergency management functions are being moved out of other state agencies to be consolidated under CDPS.  One of these changes is the new Division of Fire Prevention and Control, the website of which contains valuable information on fire safety and prevention.  For more information, see also the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment’s Wildfires, Prescribed Fires, Open Burning website.


Colorado Parks & Wildlife
The Senate will also be considering SB13-169, which concerns reintroduction of black-footed ferrets in cases where a landowner consents to a safe-harbor agreement.  Black-footed ferrets, according to the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, are “considered the most endangered mammal in North America.”  On the brink of extinction in the 1980s, black-footed ferrets have slowly been making a comeback.  The Division reports annually to the Legislature on the status of black-footed ferret reintroduction; you can read the reports here, as they are archived by our library.  For more on this rare mammal, see the Division’s species profile.

You can watch or listen to all Colorado House and Senate floor debates on the Colorado Channel.  If you miss the live debate, all proceedings are archived for access at any time.  This resource also offers audio of all committee meetings. 

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Wildfire Information

High temperatures, drought-like conditions, gusty winds and lightning strikes have made Colorado a virtual tinderbox. It seems like every day more fires are added to the list. For up to date information about the wildfires burning in our state, visit the Colorado  Office of Emergency Management at http://www.coemergency.com/. Besides posting fire updates on their blog, they also have links to local information sources. Our “Quick Guide to State Fire and Drought Information” will lead you to resources on wildfire prevention, air quality and fire-related health concerns. Travelers who are concerned about how the fires will affect their visits to the state can find information on a wildfire resource page developed by the Colorado Department of Tourism.

Colorado libraries have stepped up to help those displaced by fire in their communities. Library staff have set up computer labs and provide story hours and research services in evacuation centers. For more information on library services for evacuees, visit  http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdelib/wildfires.htm

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Ban on Fireworks, Open Burning

With the 4th of July right around the corner, Coloradans should be aware that an Executive Order has been issued declaring a ban on private fireworks and open burning such as campfires.  The Colorado Air Pollution Control Division is not issuing any permits during the ban (see their website for detailed information on the ban).  The need for the ban resulted from very dry conditions and the recent disastrous High Park Fire.  According to the Governor’s press release, “The ban does not apply to campfires in constructed, permanent fire pits or fire grates within developed camp and picnic grounds or recreation sites; liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves; fireplaces contained within buildings; charcoal grills at private residences; or specific prescribed or controlled burns for agricultural or irrigation purposes.  Commercial, professional and municipal fireworks displays are allowed when written approval has been granted by the sheriff of the county in which the fireworks display is to occur.”

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Prescribed Fire

The recent disastrous North Fork Fire, which started as a controlled burn in Jefferson County, has prompted a renewed interest in prescribed fire, with the Governor appointing a new review team on prescribed fire (see the press release here).  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has a great deal of information on their website about prescribed burns, including open burning frequently asked questions and air quality information and smoke outlooks that help officials predict wildfire danger.  See also the CDPHE’s page on smoke management, which includes prescribed burn information such as permitting information, forms, photos, maps, reports, and more.

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Colorado State Publications Blog

Fire Prevention and Safety

This week is National Fire Prevention week. Observed since 1922, this year’s theme is “Protect your Family from Fire.” Learn how to keep your home safe by visiting the National Fire Protection Association’s site for kids and families. Highlights include tips on making a fire escape plan, and a fire safety checklist.

These titles from the State Publications Library collection may also be of interest:
Forest Home Fire Safety
Fire-resistant landscaping
Living with fire: protecting communities and restoring forests

Fire Prevention Week was established to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. More than 250 people were killed, over 17,000 structures were destroyed, and more than 2,000 acres burned in the tragedy. The Chicago Historical Society has put together an online exhibit called “The Great Chicago Fire and the Web of Memory” that is worth a visit.