EVERGREEN - As the weather remains warm, a wildfire mitigation expert is asking homeowners to begin the process of clearing defensible space on their properties.
Brad Huddleston, president and founder of Splintered Forest Tree Services, said many people may not realize that fire season is really a 365-day event.
"We're working year-round," he said.
Huddleston would know. His home lacked defensible space in 2000 during the High Meadow Fire.
"That's really what we feel closest to because of my personal story, having lost a home," he said. "It was tough. It was tough on all of us. You have one year to rebuild your entire life."
As part of the rebuilding, Huddleston founded his business to make sure other realize the importance of clearing defensible space.
He said it's important to not only think about your home, but of the first responders who deal with fire as well.
"If you haven't taken any steps to mitigate your home, the odds that they are going to take any steps to protect it are really, really decreased," Huddleston said.
Huddleston said many insurance companies are now requiring homeowners to clear defensible space.
Any laws on wildfire mitigation and defensible space are typically enforced at the local level, if at all.
"Sometimes it's not a big fire, but you want to give firefighters a chance," Huddleston said.
The mitigation specialist said mitigation is zone in three zones from the home.
Zone 1 is 15-30 feet away from the home or structure. Huddleston said clearing trees and brush in this area is the most important.
Zone 2 extends 100 feet from the home or structure. He said clearing dead or dying trees, ladder fuels and large shrubs.
Zone 3 extends beyond 100 feet to the edge of the property.
"We don't want to cut every tree," Huddleston said, "but if we see branches overhanging roofs, dropping in needles into the gutters, if we see a lot of underbrush, tall bushes and things like that, those are all things that can propagate a fire right up to your doorstep."
(© 2015 KUSA)