Wildfire Hazards Are a Hot Topic for Colorado REALTORS®
The Colorado Association of REALTORS® is helping to fight destructive wildfires through a new statewide education initiative called Project Wildfire.
Each year, more than 2,500 wildfires occur in Colorado. Many wildfires are part of a beneficial natural process. They burn out quickly and cause little, if any, damage. Some of these fires, however, get out of control. When they do, the results are devastating. The fires destroy properties and homes, claim lives, and cost the state and residents money.
The risk of destructive wildfires is greatest in wildland urban interface areas (WUI’s), where man-made structures abut natural landscapes and flammable vegetation. WUI’s are found in rural and urban areas, and are expected to triple in number in the next 15 years.
Following two of the state’s most devastating wildfires, the Waldo Canyon Fire and the Black Forest Fire, Colorado’s governor convened a task force to study and recommend methods for reducing the risk of loss in WUI’s. Unfortunately, some of the proposals included taxes, assessments, disclosures and other mandates targeting property owners in WUI areas. These types of mandates and financial penalties are shortsighted and have not been proven to work.
The Colorado Association of REALTORS® believes that the solution to Colorado’s wildfire problem is education, not regulation. So, the REALTORS® association launched Project Wildfire, an educational campaign to help Colorado residents and property owners understand the heightened risk of wildfires in WUI’s.
Although now in its early stages, Project Wildfire will be a large-scale, statewide campaign that includes resources for property owners and renters, public awareness messages across different types of media, community events hosted in partnership with fire departments, and a website dedicated to the issue. Among the resources offered by the campaign is information on actions property owners can take to minimize the risk of loss, some of which are as simple and inexpensive as minimizing brush along property borders.
Colorado’s REALTORS® hope the reach and success of Project Wildfire will help to advocate for alternatives to assessments and mandates on homeowners in WUI’s.