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Bullion Fire

I am writing this just days after having a fire scare within CME that required many to evacuate.  It only takes once to make you realize how important preparedness is.  The fire was started by a downed power line due to the extremely high winds in the area on Friday April 22.  Thanks to the rapid response of multiple fire districts and aggressive actions, it was contained to 5 acres and no homes were lost.  We were very lucky because the high winds were causing the fire to rapidly spread.
There are a few important lessons that should be learned from this event. 
 First of all, is preparedness. Immediately take a video or pictures of each room of your home, including inside cabinets and closets and garage. This gives you a photographic inventory of everything you own. Have it on your phone or put it on a jump drive and put that in your grab and go bag.  Have a grab and go bag ready with all of your important documents and photos (wills, trusts, licenses, passports, jump drives, phone charger, etc) You may want to have at least a week’s worth of medications in there as well so they won’t be forgotten in the chaos.  Have everything in a place that makes it easy to grab and load into your car.  You will want some extra clothes. (A hint once given to me was to grab your dirty laundry bag if it has clothing in it.  It probably has the clothes you wear most often) Make sure you never let your car get below half a tank of fuel.  You don’t know how long it will take, or how far you may have to travel to evacuate the area. Plan your exit routes ahead of time.  Always know more than one way out of the subdivision.  Drive those routes so you are familiar with them, because in heavy smoke you may not be able to see signs or landmarks.
The second lesson to take away is the importance of mitigating your property.  Familiarize yourself with the Home Ignition Zone, and fill out the HIZ on our website.  The key is to make your home defensible in case of a fire.  This includes, but is not limited to the following: keep an area around your house clear of trees and other combustible materials; keep grass and weeds mowed down to 2 to 4 inches; limb up trees 6 feet or more from the ground—but not more than 1/3 of a tree’s height; keep trees thinned to allow space between them—canopies should be 10 feet apart; keep shrubs away from under trees so they don’t become ladder fuel (flames from a shrub can reach 3-4 times the height of the shrub);  and encourage your neighbors to mitigate their properties as well.  Vacant parcels should also be mitigated.  Do not let forest debris lie on the ground to rot.  Clean up and dispose of deadfall, sticks, pinecones, and pine needles.  You can find information on mitigation with a quick internet search.  You can also pick up information at the main Florissant fire station on Teller 24.
Be aware of fire bans that are issued by the county.  The POA is trying to keep you informed by putting up current Fire Ban banners at each entrance and posting the rules for the ban at the bulletin boards.  Right now, we are in a Stage One Fire Ban, but with continued dry weather that is bound to change. 
We were fortunate this time, but we all need to be prepared for next time.  This summer is supposed to be the driest in history.  We can make this community safer by all doing our part