Boulder County has witnessed several major destructive wildfires in recent times.
- 1989 Black Tiger Fire
- 1990 Olde Stage Fire
- 2003 Overland Fire
- 2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire
- 2016 Cold Springs Fire.
These fires have collectively destroyed more than 260 homes (and other structures), burned over 16,000 acres, and threatened the lives and properties of thousands of mountain residents. Yet many people still don’t recognize the risk posed to their homes and properties by a wildfire and what they can do to mitigate that threat.
Wildfires have always been a natural occurrence in Boulder County, but various land management practices, including fire suppression, over the last 100 years has resulted in a forest with vegetation densities 10 to 100 times their natural state. Combine this with factors such as steep terrain, drought, high summertime temperatures, and seasonal high winds, and an increased human presence in the form of development and recreational use, and the result is an environment prone to extreme wildfire behavior.
These very dangerous conditions have lead to fires which are more numerous and devastating than ever before, challenging the abilities and resources of agencies that fight fire.
Additionally, the response to a fire by emergency response organizations faced with these conditions is also limited by factors such as the amount of equipment and personnel available, number and location of water sources, difficulty or ease of access, and number and types of structures present.
By doing wildfire mitigation work, creating defensible space, and performing routine maintenance around their homes, homeowners are giving firefighters and themselves the best chance to defend their property from wildfires.