VAIL, Colo. — Christie Hochtl, who lives in Vail, has always tried to do as much as she can to build defensible space around her house by cutting back vegetation.
“I think we need to be fire aware and proactive as homeowners,” said Hochtl. “Make our landscapes less fire-prone.”
It’s work she’s always tried to do herself, but this summer, Vail Fire Wildland program manager Paul Cada said Vail residents can get some help from firefighters because of a new community work day program.
“Which is a program to help our community members implement defensible space,” said Cada.
Through the program, Vail firefighters will head to homes and spend up to 30 minutes cutting down dangerous vegetation. Firefighters then remove the brush which creates the defensible space to help protect a home during a wildfire. It's all done for free.
“Like the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and that’s exactly what we are doing here,” said Cada. “Defensible space is the proactive work that is super critical when a fire does happen.”
Fire crews have done work at 20 homes around Vail, at a critical time with wildfires popping up more often.
Hochtl said the landscape is drier than it used to be.
“The gradual aridification of this area is something we have noticed as 50-year residents,” she said.
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