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Colorado Fires Prompt Officials to Consider Homeowner Fees for High-Risk Areas

waldo canyon fireColoradans living in high-risk wildfire areas should have to pay for additional homeowners’ coverage according to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s Task Force on Wildfire Insurance and Forest Health.

Claims Journal Excerpt: October 2, 2013: The recommendations seek to shift more responsibility to homeowners living in wildfire-prone areas after two consecutive summers of devastating fires that destroyed hundreds of homes.The group said Colorado should develop a map of areas where development overlaps with forested areas – called the Wildland-Urban Interfacewaldo canyon fire 2 – to calculate risks to individual properties. Higher-risk homes would be assessed higher fees.

The Task Force believes the fees are beyond necessary following historic wildfire seasons these last two summers. Moreover, increased attention has been directed towards wildfire prevention and mitigation services as the cost and intensity of wildfires continues to rise.

Hickenlooper said people who choose to live in forested areas need to understand the risks and conduct appropriate mitigation. “Homeowners have to share some of that responsibility,” he said.

DenverPost.com Excerpt “What it means to live in the forest.” June 20, 2013 Editorial “My opinion of living in the forest has changed over the years. Thirty years ago, working as an architect, I could see only the beauty and was therefore responsible for the design of numerous homes in forest areas, none of which included non-combustible exterior materials or a defensive perimeter cleared of brush and trees. A decade or more later, I recognized the unwise practice of living close to the forest I loved. That lifestyle is not only dangerous, but it also excludes those of us who have chosen to leave the wild forest wild for the enjoyment of all rather than only the few who live there.

The forests, like oceans and mountains, are for everyone to visit and no one to own. The myth that living in the forest close to the trees is an independent lifestyle has been found out. People who depend on armies of firefighters to protect their homes are far from independent.” – Mike Kephart, Denver

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