MANITOU SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- Firefighters in Manitou Springs are preparing for potential wildfires as they also gather resources to help fight COVID-19.
Gov. Jared Polis has signed a proclamation declaring May as Wildfire Awareness Month, an annual observance to encourage all citizens to better prepare their homes and communities for wildfires.
Although firefighters anticipate an average wildfire potential leading into the summer, Coloradans usually see 4,500 wildfires that burn around 168,000 acres each year, according to the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.
With coronavirus creating additional challenges for firefighters this year, including fewer resources and less flexibility, residents are encouraged to prevent wildfires and minimize risks.
Manitou Springs officials have released a map assessing the wildfire risks of homes in the area. Several of the homes pose a "very high" to "extreme" risk for damage during a fire.
KRDO is reaching out to the Manitou Springs Fire Department to learn more on how residents can prevent wildfires. We will also learn more on how the coronavirus changes the department's approach to fighting fires and evacuating people. Check back later for updates.
Below are some tips to prevent wildfires near your home:
●Rake and remove pine needles and dry leaves 5 feet from the home, as well as under decks, porches,
sheds and play structures.
● Remove leaves and needles from roofs and gutters.
● Sweep porches and decks clear of any burnable plant material.
● Move firewood piles at least 30 feet from the house, preferably uphill.
● Transfer items under decks or porches to a storage area.
● Cover any exposed eave or attic vents with 1/8-inch metal mesh screening.
● Ensure home address signs are clearly visible from the street.
● Contact your local Office of Emergency Management to register for emergency notifications and encourage your friends, family and neighbors to do the same.
● Confirm at least one alternate path out of your neighborhood other than the one most commonly used and be prepared for potential evacuation requiring the alternative route.