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  The Hard Reality Prepare your home by creating DEFENSIBLE SPACE Prepare to evacuate with: Ready, Set, Go

Wildfire...The Hard Reality
Last year was the worst year in Colorado’s history for wildfires and the third worst for the US. Will 2013 be as bad? It’s hard to predict, but we are certainly not out of the woods yet. While recent snowfall has reduced the risk somewhat, the long term trends seem to be more frequent and larger fires for Colorado. Wildfires in the Front Range Foothills can rage out of control quickly. The Lower North Fork Fire burned one and a quarter miles in less than 12 minutes. The Hayman Fire burned 60,000 acres in one day. If the Hayman Fire had started in the vicinity of Pine Junction, it would have crossed I-70 the same day. The best way to protect the community from wildfires is to extinguish them when they are small. Rapid response by enough firefighters and equipment is essential to preventing major disasters. An escaped campfire can often be extinguished by one bucket of water. When a fire gets to be thousands of acres, the cost of fighting it can soar to over $1 million each day. trucks and manpower to fight most of our fires. Even a single house fire can tax the local fire districts. A house fire in March took 4 departWhen a fire starts in Elk Creek ments to extinguish. Unlike Denver or Lakewood, we don’t Fire District, it isn’t the state or the federal fire agencies that have dozens of fire engines and respond . All wildfires here are hundreds of firefighters. fought by the volunteers from If a wildfire got to 10 acres and Elk Creek with help from our a house caught fire, we would neighboring volunteer fire dishave to choose – do we try to tricts. We try to get all fires contain the fire or do we let it put out before they grow too go and put the house fire out? big, because help from outside We can’t do both. It’s a hard the area is often slow in comdecision for any firefighter to ing. have to make. With our current equipment and staffing, we can handle a 5 We have made some improvements since last season’s Lower acre fire, but often not much more than that. A recent mid- North Fork Fire. Because we helped out on several of the big winter fire in Pine Valley was less than 3 acres, but required fires last season, we were reimbursed enough to purchase assistance from North Fork and Platte Canyon Fire Depart- another used brush truck. Donations from the community ments to contain. That same and the Rotary Club of Conifer fire during the summer when it paid for a Polaris Ranger to is hotter and drier may have access fires away from the road. grown too big to catch. We rely on mutual aid between the (continued on back page) fire districts to provide enough


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Defensible Space The Wind

Ready, Set, Go Healthy Eating

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Your Opinion Counts… Take Our Survey
Please visit the Elk Creek Fire Department web site at: and take our brief Level of Service Survey. The information you provide will help the Elk Creek Fire Protection District to better meet your needs.



Garden Your Way To Fire Safety
Creating a defensible zone around your home doesn’t mean you can’t have attractive landscaping. Through the use of rock, gravel, garden plots and smartly placed bushes and shrubs, your landscaping can present a variety of shapes, textures and colors that will be both pleasing to the eye, and resistive to fire. While the wrong plants can increase your risk of fire, carefully chosen and maintained plants can greatly reduce it. Native species are usually the best choice for your defensible space. Elevations within our District vary greatly, making it difficult to recommend specific plants for your home, but a trip to a local garden center will yield a wealth of information and creative ideas. Following defensible zone principles, the plants closest to your home should provide the least amount of fuel for a fire. Bushes and shrubs should be widely spaced, and kept well away from the structure. Grasses should be mowed short, and watered regularly if possible. Consider installing a border of gravel or stone around the base of your home. Plant in small, decorative plots, separated by stepping stones or low volume ground cover so as not to create a continuous fuel path for fire to follow. For more information on landscaping in the defensible zone, visit Firewise Communities at: Or for additional information, contact the Elk Creek Fire Protection District at 303-816-9385.

“Need help creating defensible space? Give us a call”

Make Some Space Around Your Place
Elk Creek Fire Protection District lies within the WildlandUrban Interface. Our homes are set into the forest, and while it’s great to look out and see trees all around, we must accept that wildfire is a natural part of the forest we live in. By building our homes in this environment we put ourselves at risk. To manage this risk, we must make our homes defensible against wildfire. A defensible zone is a natural or landscaped area that will reduce the spread of flame, and give firefighters room to work as they fight to protect your home. The Elk Creek Fire Department will always do their best to protect you and your property from wildfire, but it’s your responsibility to take the necessary steps to make it possible for us to help you. Please educate yourself on the principals of defensible space. A step by step guide: FIRE 2012-1, Protecting Your Home from Wildfire: Creating Wildfire-Defensible Zones, is available as a download from the Colorado State Forest Service web site at: Or by entering in the following address into your web browser: FIRE2012_1_DspaceQuickGuid e.pdf









Listen to the Wind
Keeping the outside of your home free from debris can make it more fire-resistant. On a windy day watch how the wind moves things around. See how pine needles accumulate where two walls form an inside corner, watch as needles land on your roof and slide into your rain gutter. Notice how tiny bits of paper swirl and come to rest under your deck. This is a preview of what’ll happen during a wildfire, but instead of paper and needles, the wind will be carrying hot ash and burning embers. Use what the wind has shown you to reduce your home’s vulnerability to fire. Remove debris from the corners where they accumulate; these small piles of material may be all the fuel an ember needs to set your home ablaze. Embers that land on your roof and tumble into the gutter can start a fire that may be able to reach beneath your roofing material and cause the wood structure of your home to burn. Pine needles and trash may accumulate unnoticed beneath decks. Often you can’t see this unless you peer under the deck, but a burning ember may find this dark space the perfect spot to generate flames that start your deck on fire. Providing defensible space around your home is a necessary step to wildfire survivability, but even after the hard work of cutting and clearing is done, regular cleaning is required. Otherwise, a few handfuls of blown in trash beneath a deck might undo all the good work you’ve done. Listen to the wind, and heed it’s warning. For additional information, contact the Elk Creek Fire Protection District at 303-816-9385.

Ready, Set, Go...
Are you ready for a wildfire? Creating defensible space, clearing brush and using fire resistant landscaping may seem overwhelming, but it is essential to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. Space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it protects your home from catching fire—whether from direct flame contact or radiant heat. It also protects fire fighters defending your home, as well as increases your property value. Are you set? Be aware of fire danger levels in your area and any current fires that may be nearby. Be ready to evacuate at a moments notice. Create a wildfire action plan that includes planning for your home, family, and pets. Assemble an emergency supply kit for each member of your family. Create a communication plan that includes contact and emergency numbers. Make sure that everyone knows the plan.

Be ready to go… Evacuate early. Create an Evacuation Plan Checklist and have a plan for an immediate evacuation (within a few minutes), one for an hours notice, and one for a few hours notice.
Remember: When immediate evacuation is necessary, follow these steps as soon as possible to get ready to GO!

- Review your Evacuation Plan Checklist - Ensure your Emergency Supply Kit is in your vehicle. - Cover-up to protect against heat and flying embers. Wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, heavy shoes/boots, cap, dry bandanna for face cover, goggles or glasses. 100% cotton is preferable. - Locate your pets and take them with you.

Heart Healthy Recipe Summer Fruit Dip with Cinnamon Tortilla Chips
2 kiwis, peeled and diced 2 large apples, peeled, cored and diced 2 cups raspberries, cut in half 4 cups strawberries, diced 3 tablespoons all natural fruit spread, any flavor cooked -Mix all the above ingredients together and chill (yield: 10 servings) 10 medium whole wheat flour tortillas 2 tablespoons smart balance butter, melted 1 tablespoon cinnamon, ¼ cup white sugar (mix together) -Cut the tortillas into wedges, brush the tortillas with the smart balance and sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on them, bake at 350 degrees on a cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes -Serve the warm chips with the chilled fruit dip
Nutritional Information Amount Per Serving Calories Total Fat Sodium Total Carbohydrates Dietary Fiber Protein 248 5g 300 mg 47 g 8g 5g


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Elk Creek Fire Protection District
11993 Blackfoot Road PO Box 607 Conifer, Colorado 80433 Phone: 303-816-9385 On the web at:

Wildfire...The Hard Reality
Other than the reimbursements for fighting fire outside the district, all of our fire funding is from property taxes and donations. Despite having to protect county, state and federal lands, we get no funding for doing so. If we don’t get a fire under control the first day or two, the county and state can step in and help – if the resources are there. Outside help is unfortunately getting harder to come by. There are only two small air tankers in Colorado – if they’re not being used elsewhere. The US Forest Service is cutting 500 firefighters and 75 engines across the country. Colorado legislators have proposed purchasing a dedicated air tanker fleet, but have not found any funding for the project. What does this mean for residents of Elk Creek? Two things come to mind. First, homeowners need to make sure their homes are well mitigated and maintained to reduce the risk of ignition. Even those small 10 acres fires can be disastrous, if they happen in your neighborhood. Secondly, the residents and homeowners here need to decide if they are satisfied with the level of service provided by Elk Creek Fire. With the lowest tax rate in the entire Denver Metro area, we can’t provide the same level of protection as Evergreen Fire, West Metro or Platte Canyon. In this respect, the old adage is true – you get what you pay for.
“With the lowest tax rate in the entire Denver Metro Area, we can’t provide the same level of service as others…”