Individual Home Assessments West Boulder County
Boulder County’s Wildfire Partners program offers free home assessments to all eligible homeowners of west Boulder County. However, if you live in a high-density community characterized by multiple homes less than 60 feet apart, or in a community that has a communal land-ownership structure, we encourage you to read more about our Community Mitigation model.
- Your home is located in unincorporated west Boulder County (west of Highways 36 and 93). This includes the towns of Jamestown, Lyons, Nederland, and Ward.
- You own the residence listed on your application. Renters are not eligible to apply. If you are a renter in the program area and are interested in wildfire mitigation, encourage the owner of your residence to apply.
- You agree to participate in an individual, 2-hour home assessment. A homeowner must be present and take part in the assessment. Assessments can be scheduled Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
We conduct an individual, on-site, wildfire home assessment. If you are accepted into Wildfire Partners, you will actively participate in your comprehensive assessment with a Wildfire Mitigation Specialist. Together, you will examine areas on the exterior of your home vulnerable to wildfire risk as well as the trees and other vegetation in your defensible space zones. The Specialist will mark vegetation for removal according to Colorado State Forest Service guidelines and take notes and photos documenting your discussion and their analysis. You will also discuss emergency preparedness and planning specific to your needs.
The assessment takes about 2 hours to complete. Assessments are conducted year-round weather permitting.
We provide a customized report that identifies the weak links in your home’s defenses. A report detailing specific actions you should take to reduce your home’s vulnerability to wildfire will be emailed to you within ten days of your assessment. This report will include your comprehensive mitigation checklist, photos documenting action items, and additional information on wildfire mitigation and preparedness.
Financial awards are available to subsidize the cost of hiring a Wildfire Partners Forestry Contractor. Our program receives grant funding from the Colorado State Forest Service and Boulder County. These funds provide financial assistance for forestry work through an approved contractor.
- You will receive details on your eligibility for a financial award with your assessment report.
- Participants must submit a bid to us from an approved forestry contractor to receive financial awards.
- The standard award is not means tested and requires no separate application.
- The standard award is 50% of the contractor’s cost. The maximum award Wildfire Partners will pay is $2,000.
Participants with limited incomes can apply for a need-based award that covers additional costs.
You receive free access to Wildfire Partners Advisors. Advisors are available from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday-Friday, to answer questions and provide information about our program. You can reach us at 303-441-1420 or by email at email@example.com.
We provide a Wildfire Partners Certificate and yard sign states that you have mitigated your home. After successfully completing your mitigation checklist, please call us to schedule your one-hour final inspection.
After passing the inspection, you will receive your certificate and a Wildfire Partners yard sign. The certificate can help participants obtain or maintain insurance. The certificate can also be uploaded to your MLS listing to help you sell your home.
You will have increased peace of mind. By completing mitigation actions, you can feel good knowing you have acted responsibly to help protect your family and your community. However, wildfire mitigation is not a one-time event; you must maintain mitigation for it to be effective. You can always contact us to schedule a re-certification of your property. There is no charge for re-certification assessments.
Join your neighbors and become a Wildfire Partner! Be a positive role model for others and help create a more resilient community.
The risk of catastrophic wildfire is a real and serious threat.
In many areas, it is not a question of if a wildfire will impact your home, but when. Living in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) comes with new responsibilities and challenges. According to a 2018 Colorado State Forest Service report, 2.9 million people in Colorado are living in areas at risk for wildfire.
We have the opportunity to significantly reduce the potential for property destruction in the WUI, but this opportunity depends on you. By creating and maintaining effective defensible space and retrofitting your home with safer materials, you can make your community safer.
A well-mitigated home gives firefighters the opportunity to do their job more safely. Firefighters will not risk their lives to defend a home that does not have defensible space. Even if firefighters are unable to directly protect your home during a wildfire, implementing effective wildfire mitigation will still increase your home’s chances for survival.
Wildfire mitigation is the implementation of various measures designed to minimize the destructive effects a wildfire has on your property.
Some actions are designed to modify the forest environment around your home that puts it at risk from destruction by a wildfire. Others focus on “hardening” your home to improve its ability to withstand a wildfire without being dependent upon fire suppression resources. Wildfire mitigation increases the chances your home will survive a wildfire. It does not guarantee that it will survive.
All assessments are free.
This applies to initial assessments and re-certifications as well as final inspections.
Your Wildfire Mitigation Specialist will help you develop a wildfire mitigation forestry plan to enhance the overall health of your forest and land, which is not the same as clear cutting. A properly mitigated home will usually have clumps of trees, openings, and isolated individual trees. Our specialists will work with homeowners to preserve high value trees and other vegetation if possible.
The objective of tree thinning is to reduce the amount of radiant heat your home is exposed to during a wildfire and to prevent direct flames from touching your home’s walls and windows.
The goal is to break up forest continuity by creating large openings and separation between trees to change fire behavior. Proper crown separation can help change an intense crown fire (a wildfire burning in the treetops) into a less threatening ground fire. It is much more likely for a home to survive if the fire approaches from the ground.
Most homeowners find their property to be more aesthetically pleasing after implementing their forestry plan. Views are improved, and aspen trees and wildflowers are more abundant. The forest around your home becomes more diverse.
Defensible space is usually categorized by zones. For the Wildfire Partners program, we look at Zones 1a, 1, and 2. Zone 1a is the first 3-5 feet right around the foundation of your home. Zone 1 extends 30 feet out from your home, and Zone 2 is up to 100 feet out.
Mitigation specialists may extend Zone 2 if the topography (i.e., steep slopes) requires it.
Defensible Space Zones 1 and 2
Wildfire Partners can provide two types of financial assistance to help defray the costs of forestry work.
Standard awards and need-based assistance are both available to applicants. Standard awards are 50% of Wildfire Partners Forestry Contractor costs up to $2,000, whichever is less.
Need-based assistance is available to those on limited incomes to cover additional costs beyond $2000. If you have previously qualified for a government program that uses formal income criteria for acceptance, there is a good chance you will qualify for need-based assistance from Wildfire Partners. If you can formally document your need, then you should check “Yes” for the Additional Financial Assistance question and apply here.
You are not required to use our forestry contractors. Homeowners are free to do all the work themselves or part of the work themselves.
Many homeowners choose to do all the required work themselves. How you do the work has no bearing upon your ability to get certified so long as you complete the Required Items on the checklist.
You also have the option to do some of the work yourself and hire a forestry contractor for the rest. You should do your part of the work before getting a bid from a forestry contractor. Contractors are not allowed to give piece-meal bids.
If you hire someone who is not on our approved forestry contractor list, you are not eligible for financial awards through Wildfire Partners.
It depends on whether you are using a forestry contractor or doing the work yourself.
If your hire a forestry contractor, they are responsible for disposal of your slash and wood. To keep some wood for personal use, let them know ahead of time.
If you do the work yourself, there are options for getting rid of the slash and wood. Many homeowners like to keep cut logs to use for firewood or make it available to neighbors. Slash — trees and limbs less than 6 inches in diameter – may be chipped through our free community chipping program or taken to the county sort yard. The county also issues burn permits that can be used in the winter when conditions allow.
Sort yards are located in Nederland and Allenspark and are open May – October.
You are required to have a Wildfire Partners assessment and/or certificate depending on what type of Short-Term Rental license you apply for.
More information here: Boulder County short-term dwelling and vacation rental licensing.
While we do not require another assessment, many homeowners find it helpful to get a re-certification assessment every three to six years
If you’ve had a home assessment by a Wildfire Partner Mitigation Specialist, then you already have a solid understanding of how to prepare your home. However, mitigation is an ongoing process, so many homeowners do find it helpful to get a re-certification every 3-6 years. Your mitigation specialist can help you determine the correct interval for your property. Call or email us if you would like to set up a re-certification assessment.
Ongoing research gives us a clearer picture of how and why homes are lost in fires. Researchers from across the nation are working in labs, studying the characteristics of embers, testing building materials, and investigating home loss in the field after major wildfires. They are making exciting breakthroughs on the specifics of why some homes survive and others are lost during fires.
To become certified as a Wildfire Partner, you must implement the required actions identified in your customized wildfire mitigation assessment report.
One of our professional Wildfire Mitigation Specialists will visit your home and work with you to identify precisely what you need to do. You will receive a comprehensive report including a checklist of items required or recommended for you to complete. The report will provide specific comments on what you will need to do. These actions include changes to the exterior of your home as well as forestry work around your home up to 150 feet out. (View Wildfire Partners Sample Assessment Report 1 or Sample Assessment Report 2.)
Once you have completed the required actions, call us to schedule your final inspection. Upon passing, you will receive certification.
There is no deadline for completing the required items on your mitigation checklist. Some homeowners finish the year they get their assessment, others take longer.
Everyone’s home construction and forest density is different and will require varying levels of mitigation. Some homes will require a lot of work that could take several months or even years to complete; others may only need some minor yard work.
However, your financial award for forestry work will expire. The expiration date is on the front page of your assessment report. Receiving the financial award is contingent on using one of our approved forestry contractors and completion by the deadline.
Your Wildfire Mitigation Specialist will work with you to identify the vulnerabilities in your home’s construction and provide you solutions.
The topography, building materials, and other factors influence your home’s vulnerability to ignition. Sometimes, simple actions such as caulking or adding flashing can mitigate risk. Installing a noncombustible barrier around the foundation is required. Every home differs, so the actions needed will vary.
You can get a tax subtraction from your Colorado state taxes for mitigation work.
You will need to submit your receipts for materials or labor to receive the tax subtraction. The subtraction is limited to $2,500.
Yes, receiving a Wildfire Partners certificate will increase your chances of obtaining insurance and staying insured; however, it will not qualify you for an insurance discount.
Since 2014, hundreds of homeowners have used Wildfire Partners program participation and certification to help attain insurance. Allstate, State Farm (existing customers), and USAA accept the Wildfire Partners certificate as proof of proper fire mitigation depending on the date of certificate. Certification will help you with your insurance needs, but it does not guarantee your policy will be automatically renewed every year or that a new insurance carrier will automatically agree to insure your home.