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Firefighters stress mitigation as blazes break out in southern Colorado

It’s been a busy week for firefighters in Southern Colorado, as multiple structures have been destroyed and the Decker Fire continues to grow near Salida.

Sunday, a grass fire in Hanover burned down a home, luckily no one was hurt.

Hanover Fire Chief Carl Tatum said, “You can see behind me that there are about three to four-foot-[tall] vegetation around the house. There is no way for us to protect that. And when there is a grass fire like that, bad things are going to happen.”

And that’s why fire mitigation, even in October is extremely important.

Firefighter Stephen Larsen, who was out training with CSFD’s new fire engine, said all year long you need to be taking the proper precautions.

“People think its starting to be the raining season and that it’s starting to get wetter and wetter, it’s actually the opposite,” said Larsen. “What happens is it’s called seasonal drying, that’s where you take the sun all through the summer and it’s starting to dry out all these fuels come October with no rain, that’s your prime time even though it’s cooler weather.”

Right now, El Paso County is in stage one fire restrictions.

Larsen said, “The idea is that you are well prepared before and prior to any event. You can’t go mitigate your house when a fire is coming. The time is over. The time to mitigate is right now when you think that everything is just fine.”

And if you live within a half-mile of a wildfire, watch out for embers that may fly and land on your roof or in your vents.

“Large fire produces these. Now you get these firebrands that start landing around your property and that will start your house on fire even though the major fire is a long way away,” said Larsen.

And don’t forget if you need help mitigating, CSFD can come to your house and help by providing chipping for any loose branches.

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