Godden Sudik Blog

Defensible Space: Protecting Your Home From Wildfires
Godden | Sudik Architects - November 12, 2019
More Colorado Homes at Risk for Wildfires

As we move into winter, many Colorado homeowners are breathing a sigh of relief as what has come to be known as “wildfire season” begins to slow with the additional snow and moisture in the forecast. While foothills real estate has grown increasingly popular in Colorado for its stunning views and relative seclusion, the increase of wildfires encroaching on these suburban developments has made defensible space and fire mitigation paramount. From stricter code enforcement and insurance premiums skyrocketing in susceptible areas, ensuring your home’s safety is now a top priority to prevent tragedy.

What is Defensible Space and Why Does it Matter?

Defensible space is the area around a home or other structure that has been modified in order to reduce fire hazard. This ranges from creating zones around the dwelling that are clear of dead plants or grass, to utilizing fire-resistant materials in construction. Defensible space also works to reduce the the chances of a structural fire spreading to neighboring homes or the surrounding land. Fire is destructive; creating wildfire-defensible zones in the design of the house, homes are less vulnerable to this natural disaster and the chance of the wildfire spreading decreases immensely.

Designing for Fire Mitigation

The design phase is the best opportunity to mitigate risk of fire. Choosing fire-resistant roofing material rated class C or higher and avoiding flammable materials such as wood or shake shingles are ways to decrease your risk in areas near forest or grasslands. Similarly, building with ignition-resistant materials such as stucco, fiber cement, wall siding, or treated wood rather than wood paneling or shingles helps cutback on liability.

Additional Information

By following basic fire-safety guidelines, your home will have a better chance of survival while firefighters work to bring the wildfire under control. For more information about building for fire-safety and mitigating your risk in the event of a wildfire, visit Ready for Wildfire.

Defensible space graphic for residential architecture