Wildfire Mitigation and New Homes

Video below features Kevin Costenaro and one of The Augusta Group projects in the Foothills above Golden, Colorado.

A recent rash of wildfires have hit the foothills of Colorado, most notably the Indian Gulch Fire just outside of Golden, reminding everyone of the importance of advance planning for potential wildfires. There are simple, common sense steps that we take during the construction of our homes in the Foothills communities. First, we obtain a Defensible Space permit from local authorities, which simply states that we will follow certain minimum guidelines. Second, we bring in a licensed forestry expert – one generally pre-approved by the local Zoning Department – who helps us identify the different risk zones around the home. This person will also identify and mark which trees we must remove before completion of the home. The Augusta Group takes prevention a step further by completely removing all combustible vegetation from around the home, which essentially forms a dirt perimeter of upwards of 25′. Over time, native grasses and other vegetation will return to this area but during construction we remove anything that begins growing. Here’s a list of other preventative measures:
* Build with fire-resistant materials. We like to incorporate metal or tile roofs. Stucco & stone are common in our homes, but any masonry facade would also suffice. Hardiboard material for soffits and fascias are another good practice as this material is manufactured with cement and is truly fire resistant.
* Provide adequate access and turn-around space for large vehicles, particularly fire engines. We establish the driveway and access prior to constructing the home. We keep our address posted at all times, so fire crews can quickly identify our property in case of emergency.
* Keep all excess material – especially lumber – away from the home. We manage the delivery of material to coincide with the pace of our crews so that at any given point, there is minimal lumber around the site.
* Keep all debris and trash away from the home. We set rolloff dumpsters upwind and at least 50′ from the home under construction and immediately place any lumber cut-offs, trash and debris in it.
* Establish an old fashioned telephone line at each jobsite. Unfortunately, cell phone coverage is not as reliable as we would like in some mountain areas. This helps us to quickly report any danger to the proper authorities.
* Fire extinguishers are located throughout our jobsites.

For further information please contact The Augusta Group, 303-278-9292.

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