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October 7, 2016

Media Contact
Jim Webster, Wildfire Partners/
Boulder County Land Use

Boulder County Wildfire Mitigation and Forest Health Newsletter – Oct. 6, 2016

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Forest Health News

Today’s newsletter covers the following:

  • Harrowing Fort McMurray wildfire escape
  • Lessons learned from the Fort McMurray Fire
  • October is Wildfire Awareness Month!
  • FREE Wildfire Partners Assessments
  • Insurance industry participation in Wildfire Partners helps residents

Please forward this newsletter to individuals, groups and organizations you know who may be interested.

Fort McMurrry Escape YouTube Video

Harrowing Fort McMurray wildfire escape

Via CBC News:

Fort McMurrry Fire

Lessons learned from the Fort McMurray Fire

A preliminary report
(1.3MB PDF) looked at how the Fort McMurray Fire destroyed more than 2,400
structures—the largest ever insured loss in Canada—in Alberta in May 2016.

Below are key excerpts from the report:

evaluating the fire environment and clearances between homes and the
forest edge, the investigator discounted direct contact from flames or
radiant heat of the forest fire as being significant sources of home
ignition at Fort McMurray. Instead, it was concluded that wind-driven
embers were the most probable cause for the majority of early home
ignitions in the zone where the fire made its transition from forest
into neighborhoods. Once established, the fire would have spread from
structure to structure as a conflagration, accounting for the majority
of home losses.”

  • In all neighborhoods studied, homes whose owners
    had adopted FireSmart guidelines—actions to reduce wildfire losses
    similar to Wildfire Partners—survived much more frequently than homes
    where they had not, despite the extraordinarily harsh conditions.
  • Recommended
    FireSmart guidelines work. They are effective in reducing the
    probability of home ignition and wildfire losses. Home survival does not
    appear to be random or a matter of luck.
  • Home survival depends on conditions in the home ignition zone, for which owners are responsible.
  • While low total hazard rating is important, a single critical weakness can lead to home loss.

Wildfire Awareness Month

October is Wildfire Awareness Month!

October residents in Boulder County learn how to prepare for wildfire,
take action to protect their homes, and work with neighbors to reduce
their risk. View the events and activities schedule that includes a photo contest and prizes, and the program “Burning Questions: Living with Wildfire in Boulder County” on Saturday, October 15 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. followed by a Firefighter Appreciation Luncheon at the Nederland Community Center. More info at:

FREE Wildfire Partners Assessments

your risk! Everyone who applies to Wildfire Partners in October 2016 (and is accepted into the
program) will receive a free home assessment—a $75 value. We are
offering this promotion because we have 100 spots still available for
2016. Assessments may be completed in 2016 or 2017 depending on weather
and availability of our Wildfire Mitigation Specialists. Free
assessments will not be offered again during 2017 October Wildfire
Awareness Month because of grant funding deadlines. Act today!

Wildfire Partners Assessment Report sample cover

industry participation in Wildfire Partners helps residents

Outside of
Boulder County, homeowners are faced with conflicting mitigation
standards and uncertainty. Because select insurers recognize the
Wildfire Partners Certificate, our participants know in advance the
mitigation they perform will be accepted. Insurance companies are among
Wildfire Partners strongest supporters. They see the program as a
national model that they want replicated because it effectively reduces
risk. They do not use the program to drop customers. We do not share
(and insurers do not ask for) participant addresses. Participants who do
not obtain the gold standard of certification are not targeted for

See the FAQ on our website for messages from the insurance
industry that dispels the myth that by participating in Wildfire Partner
you could somehow negatively impact your insurance coverage.

Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you at a Wildfire Awareness Month event. Please share with your friends and neighbors!


Rick, Kyle, Chris and Jim

Boulder County Land Use Department