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Summit County splitting the cost to protect homes from wildfires

Summit County is preparing for the upcoming wildfire season and homeowners could save thousands of dollars if they do the same.

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. — Even with snow piling up, now is the time to prepare for wildfires, according to Dan Schroder with the Colorado State University Summit County Extension Office.

“If you think about this era of longer hotter drier, the wildfire season is on us a lot of the year,” Schroder said.

Last summer was historic with several record-setting large fires crossing the state.

RELATED: Cameron Peak Fire causes $6.3 million in property loss, report says

In an effort to mitigate fire risk, Summit County is taking applications for grants that would pay for half the cost of removing vegetation from around homes creating defensible space.

“Create defensible space around your home by pushing the forest back,” said Schroder. “You’re increasing your odds of surviving a wildfire.”

Credit: 9News

In most cases, the idea is to remove most vegetation from up against a home. Larger trees should be about 30 feet away with the main goal of making sure houses don’t have trees touching rooftops or decks.

RELATED: Forest service highlights wildfire prevention after historic season

“Fires always start small and then they grow,” said Schroder. “If you have ladder fuel like little trees up against bigger trees up against your home your set up for disaster.”

Credit: 9News

People can do a lot of clearing work on their own without spending money by removing small vegetation from close to a house, mowing grass, and cleaning out their rooftop gutters but in Summit County if someone wants help paying for larger projects, they can apply at the county website.

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