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July 12, 2013
A house sits undamaged in the aftermath of the Black Forest Fire in Black Forest, Colorado2013 has already been a devastating year for Colorado wildfires. The Black Forest Fire destroyed 486 homes and caused more than $85 million in damage alone and fire season has only just begun. While this blog post is not intended to alarm our readers, taking necessary precautions to protect your most valuable possession and more importantly your family and your irreplaceable possessions is critical not only to your wellbeing, but also to the value of your home. Here are four steps you can take to reduce the risk of damage to your property.

Inspect Your Roof

Combustible roof coverings pose the greatest threat to your home. Roof combustibility is rated using a class system, “A” being the least combustible. Unless your roof is made from obvious non-combustible materials such as tile, you may need to hire a professional to come out and inspect your roof. If it is not rated class “A”, you may want to consider replacing it with a material that is. There are wood shake materials and asphalt shingles with class “A” fire ratings so you do not have to be stuck with a tile roof to comply with the rating system.

If you cannot afford the expense of a roof replacement, be sure to at least keep debris off your roof, inspect it regularly, maintain it when necessary, and replace it when needed.

Gutter, Eaves, and Vents

Because the roof is one of the most vulnerable places for embers and flames, it is important to make sure gutters, eaves and vents are installed correctly and maintained well to avoid blown embers becoming lodged in one of these areas and igniting a flame. Add fine mesh screens to all vented opening in your attic and crawl space, enclose the underside of open eaves and clean gutters of combustible debris at least twice yearly to reduce vulnerability.


Single pane windows are extremely  vulnerable to breaking when exposed to wildfire conditions and can crack in as little as 1-3 minutes from the time of exposure. To reduce your risk, install double paned windows and if possible, use tempered glass. For an extra measure of protection, consider adding shutters to your exterior using wood that is treated and at least 1/4 inch thick. This can be used as a barrier between your windows and the elements if needed.


Maintaining your yard by removing dead and dying plants that can catch fire easily should be done in the front and back of your property. Also pruning back overhanging trees and pruning shrubs away from your siding or foundation is recommended to reduce your risk of fire. Fences can also be a major fire hazard and if your homes fence is made from a combustible material such as untreated wood, consider replacing it or retrofitting fence ends that are attached to your home with non-combustibles such as masonry or metal.

By taking these important steps to protect your home against wildfires, not only will you be at ease that you have taken all the necessary precautions, but it will improve your curb appeal and resale value. For a more comprehensive guide, visit the Southwest Division of the Institute for Business and Home Safety.

If you are interested in speaking with one of our Colorado mortgage specialists or are interested in getting more information about the loans we offer, simply fill out our Fast Response form or give us a call in our local branch office located at (303) 803-1900. Our experienced mortgage professionals would love to sit down and discuss your needs. We look forward to hearing from you!

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