Vail launches cash aid program to help ‘Fire Free Five’
Program will help fire-harden Vail structures
Vail Fire and Emergency Services has announced the launch of a new community assistance program aimed at helping property owners reduce their risk from wildfire.
The Fire Free Five Community Assistance Program is intended to provide financial support to property owners who are increasing wildfire resiliency by creating a 5-foot non-combustible zone around their buildings.
The town recognizes that taking these steps requires time and money. Fund your Fire Free Five was established to help pay for those projects. Fund your Fire Free Five will reimburse property owners for the costs of materials and labor for implementing a 5-foot-wide buffer zone around the entire building.
Fire Free Five guidelines recommend landscaping changes include hardscaping — on-grade patios, walkways and driveways, and non-combustible mulch including pea gravel, cobble and stone. Other improvements include a well-maintained and irrigated lawn, perennial flower beds and perennial ground cover.
Trees and shrubs should not be planted within the 5-foot space. Trees planted outside the 5-foot zone that hang over into the zone should be limbed up to a height of 6 feet or one-third the total height, whichever is less, and should be trimmed to leave at least a two-foot gap between the nearest branch and the building.
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Research conducted over the past 30 years has shown that properties that take proactive steps to reduce wildfire risk on their property are much more likely to survive wildfires.
The Institute for Business and Home Safety, a wildfire research group has identified four key actions a property owner can take to substantially reduce risk:
- Make sure your roof is fire rated
- Create a 5-foot buffer around your home
- Remove items under your deck
- Add or upgrade your vent screens
All property owners within the town of Vail are eligible to participate in this program. Funds from the program may be used for tree and shrub removal, tree pruning, landscape replacement, removing or enclosing combustibles or any other activity which creates a Fire Free Five space around the building. Funds are available on a first come, first served basis throughout 2022.
For more information and to apply for funding through the Fire Free Five Community Assistance Program, go to VailGov.com/firefreefive or call Paul Cada at 970-477-3475.