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Homeowner wildfire awareness, education comes to western Colorado

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Photo submitted Colorado Project Wildfire is an education program designed to help reduce and/or prevent the destruction of land and property, injuries and loss of life by raising awareness of and access to wildfire mitigation resources.

As the next step in the expansion of its Colorado Project Wildfire, the Colorado Association of REALTORS® has teamed up with the West Region Wildfire Council to offer educational programming for REALTORS® and property owners in the west/southwest counties of our state. The partnership was announced at the Log Hill Volunteer Fire Department near Ridgway where wildfire mitigation experts provided an informational session and tour of both mitigated properties and those in need of mitigation.

Over the past two decades, frequent, large, destructive wildfires have claimed hundreds of thousands of acres of land, damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes and structures, caused deaths and injuries and displaced residents for extended periods of time across the state of Colorado.

"Safety is of the utmost importance to our REALTOR® members," said CAR's Colorado Project Wildfire chair, Bonnie Smith. "We act out that concern with each of our clients through careful selection of safe properties, the use of professional inspections and providing access to resources homeowners can use themselves to enhance the safety of their properties. Everyone -- not just those living in a WUI -- is affected by wildfires. Helping homeowners (and future homeowners) in those areas understand how to mitigate the danger is the very reason we started Colorado Project Wildfire."

According to the Colorado State Forest Service, more than two million Coloradans live in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), an area where manmade improvements are built close to, or within, natural terrain and flammable vegetation, and where high potential for wildland fire exists. With continued development throughout the state's WUI areas estimated to grow by 300 percent in the next 15 years, the wildfire threat is real and it is not going away.

"As a regional organization that works to reduce wildfire risk and promote fire-adapted communities, we're excited to collaborate with the Colorado Association of REALTORS®," said Lilia Falk, director of the West Region Wildfire Council. "We have a collective responsibility to prepare our homes, properties and communities for the possibility of wildfire. Colorado Project Wildfire helps promote this message while connecting residents with local resources, like the West Region Wildfire Council, that are available to assist with wildfire education, mitigation and preparedness efforts."

The Colorado Association of REALTORS® (CAR) launched Colorado Project Wildfire last year, an education program designed to help reduce and/or prevent the destruction of land and property, injuries and loss of life by raising awareness of and access to wildfire mitigation resources. With 23,000-plus REALTOR® members spread across the state, CAR and its members are working in partnership with other like-minded fire prevention organizations to bring education and awareness, as well as access to local resources directly to residents.

CAR's Colorado Project Wildfire website, http://www.coloradoprojectwildfire.com, provides information and direct links to information regarding:

• Protecting your home before a wildfire

• Current Colorado danger zones; and

• Who is affected by wildfires.

From basic property cleanup recommendations and wood chipping programs to detailed action plans and property evaluation services from fire and safety professionals in local communities, the website offers access to city, county, state and federal resource organizations, mitigation education and more through its resources and tool kit tabs.

Joining representatives from CAR and the West Region Wildfire Council were representatives from the Delta County Board of REALTORS®.

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