Smokey Bear Helps Launch Colorado Rebuilds Fire Adapated Communities During "Wildfire Preparedness Week"

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The Fire Adapated Communities Coalition announced three upcoming community wildfire preparedness workshops at Lowe’s Home Improvement stores in Fort Collins, Littleton and Colorado Springs.

As Colorado residents begin rebuilding and repairing homes damaged or lost during recent wildfires, the Fire Adapted Communities Coalition today urged homeowners to use fire-resistant building materials and maintain effective defensible space surrounding homes to save lives and reduce future property damage.

The Colorado Rebuilds Fire Adapted Communities initiative was announced during a news conference at the state capitol building this morning, along with three upcoming community wildfire preparedness workshops at Lowe’s Home Improvement stores in Fort Collins, Littleton and Colorado Springs.

Smokey Bear and U.S. Sen. Mark Udall’s office joined the coalition of 24 local, state and national partners to encourage Colorado homeowners to protect their homes and better prepare their communities for the continued wildfire threat. The Colorado Rebuilds kickoff is part of “Wildfire Preparedness Week” (Sept. 9-15) as declared by Gov. John Hickenlooper.

“While homeowners can’t control the often fast-changing path of a wildfire, they can help control how a wildfire will impact their property by looking for vulnerabilities and taking action now to help improve their property’s ‘self defense’ system,” said Julie Rochman, president and CEO, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). “Taking many low cost or free steps before fire threatens will also give you peace of mind if you have to evacuate quickly under instructions from local emergency officials.”

The first wildfire preparedness workshop will be held this Saturday in Fort Collins. Each one-hour workshop will feature full-scale displays created by IBHS, which will be used to visually demonstrate the types of materials that perform best under wildfire conditions, which will help homeowners choose wisely when rebuilding, renovating or repairing their homes. All materials used to construct the displays were generously donated by Lowe’s.

This summer, Colorado experienced the two most destructive wildfires in state history with more than 600 properties destroyed. Insurance damage estimates from the Waldo Canyon and High Park fires total nearly $450 million making 2012 the most expensive wildfire season on record in Colorado, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.

“There are many things our communities are doing to help ensure we don’t have to face fires of this magnitude again,” said Dan Golec, Lowe’s Market Director – Stores. “Lowe’s is excited to host the Colorado Fire Adapted Communities workshops. We encourage everyone to attend these workshops and take part in hands-on activities that illustrate what types of construction materials perform better in wildfire areas. The workshops will also answer questions about construction and vegetation management to help repair, rebuild and maintain properties in wildfire-prone areas. We’ll all learn together how to never stop improving our area and making it safer for generations to come.”

“We are starting to witness significant structure losses from wildfire in areas that traditionally weren’t as impacted, such as Texas and Colorado. The realization that wildfire is a growing threat across the country underscores the need for a comprehensive, collaborative approach to address this situation,” said Molly Mowery, National Fire Protection Association’s program manager for Fire Adapted Communities and international outreach. “The Fire Adapted Communities program provides national resources from a coalition of agencies to drive this message forward.”

Dates and locations for community wildfire preparedness workshops:
Saturday, Sept. 15 at 11:00 a.m.    Lowe’s, 4227 Corbett Drive, Fort Collins
Sunday, Sept. 16 at 1:00 p.m.        Lowe’s, 5258 S. Wadsworth Blvd., Littleton
Saturday, Sept. 22 at 11:00 a.m.     Lowe’s, 4880 N. Nevada Avenue, Colorado Springs
The Fire Adapted Communities Coalition includes the following organizations:

Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies - Division of Insurance, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Colorado Department of Public Safety - Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Colorado Nature Conservancy, Colorado Springs Fire Department - Division of the Fire Marshal – Wildfire Mitigation, Colorado Springs Together, Colorado State Fire Chiefs Association, Colorado State Forest Service, Firewise Communities Program, Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores, National Association of State Foresters, National Fire Protection Association, Professional Independent Insurance Agents of Colorado / Trusted Choice, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Western Forestry Leadership Coalition and the Western Governors’ Association.

Editor’s note: Additional media assets for use with this story can be found at http://disastersafety.org/colorado-rebuilds/

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About IBHS
IBHS is an independent, nonprofit, scientific and educational organization supported by the property insurance industry. The organization works to reduce the social and economic effects of natural disasters and other risks to residential and commercial property by conducting research and advocating improved construction, maintenance and preparation practices. Visit DisasterSafety.org for more information about how to make your buildings more resistant to a variety of disasters, large and small. Follow IBHS on Twitter at @DisasterSafety and on Facebook.
About LOWE’S
With fiscal year 2011 sales of $50.2 billion, Lowe’s Companies, Inc. is a FORTUNE® 100 company that serves approximately 15 million customers a week at more than 1,745 home improvement stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico. Founded in 1946 and based in Mooresville, N.C., Lowe’s is the second-largest home improvement retailer in the world. For more information, visit Lowes.com.
About FIRE ADAPTED COMMUNITIES
Fire adapted communities is a national effort designed to help communities acknowledge their wildfire risk and take action through resources and programs from the nation’s leading wildfire organizations. The initiative is guided by a coalition of wildfire agencies committed to helping communities adapt to living with wildfire, and reduce their risk for damage, without compromising firefighter or civilian safety. Fire adapted communities is sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service and coordinated by the National Fire Protection Association.

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