Tree Service Parker CO Insurance Mandated Wildfire Prevention
The Pinery residents received letters from home insurers in early March 2014 requiring tree trimming and bush removal among other services. I took a look at a copy of the letter that a trimming customer received, and while courteous and empathetic, the letter clearly states that the following improvements “are required in order to continue providing your Homeowners coverage. “
In the letter, I am referencing the following improvements were outlined.
“Create defensible space around the home by reducing the trees, vegetation, and debris around the home to a minimum of 100 feet, with emphasis on the 30 feet surrounding the home.”
What this means is removing bushes that are under your deck, removing flammable bushes like juniper within 15 feet of your house, cutting back trees that touch the roof or sides of your house, deck, and garage, and removing brush and debris within 30 feet of the house.
“Trim tree limbs around all structures from the ground level up to 10 feet. Separate the crowns of large trees by 10 feet or more.”
Branches that are closer than ten feet to the ground can become “ladder fuels” which can bring the fire up a tree into the crown or the tops of trees. Veteran pine trees with full green canopies have, counter-intuitively, the largest potential to create hot and explosive wildfire because they are full of a sap which is an oil. Dead trees burn more easily but not nearly at the intensity and explosiveness of a live pine. Trimming to 10 feet up, within 30 feet of structures, will typically bring your home into compliance.
“Trim tree branches away from the roof to prevent accumulation.”
Pine needles and other organic material, called “duff” informally, serve as a bed of kindling for a landing ember. Because it’s floating embers that catch homes on fire more so than a direct fire in your yard, home insurers are very picky about debris removal from the roof and gutters. Duff also accumulates two or three inches deep under large trees so when creating defensible space, we clear out the duff under large trees within 100 feet of structures.
In areas with wooded driveways, it’s also recommended to clear 30 feet to each side of the driveway to allow fire personnel adequate entry space. Wildfire crews are trained to triage a property and it the given property doesn’t have defensible space or presents a clear and present danger to the fire crew, they will skip it.