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Rocky Mountain Research Station
240 West Prospect Road
Fort Collins, CO 80526-2098

Switchboard: 970-498-1100
Fax: 970-498-1010

United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. logo USDA Link Forest Service Link

RMRS Videos

Protecting Your Home From Wildfire
Click to see larger screen captures:

This 25-minute video features Fire Scientist Jack Cohen showing examples of homes that were unprotected during a wildfire; homes using Home Protection Guidelines (see below); and examples where home protection guidelines can be put to use.

Home Protection Guidelines:

  • Eliminate all flammable materials (potential fuels) within 10 feet of the house.
  • Consider any wood roof flammable; wet the whole roof frequently.
  • Remove flammable materials away from decks or boardwalks -- if it's connected to the house, consider it part of the house.
  • Remove pine needles from gutters and the roof.
  • Staple metal window screening over any openings or gaps including low decks, walkways and crawl spaces.
  • If possible, place sprinklers to wet the area around the house especially within 60 feet of the house.
  • Reduce or eliminate surface fuels starting at the house to within 100 feet of the house and prune lower limbs of trees at least 8 feet above the ground.

"Most of the houses I've examined very likely ignited from small spot ignitions on or adjacent to the home -- not from the big crown fire flames. That means a homeowner can easily do fuel reductions that can potentially save their homes."
-- Jack Cohen

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Watch the video!
Closed Caption version: /rm/protecting-home/

For more information, please visit the following Web sites:

Video title "Protecting Your Home From Wildfire" on top of a blazing wildfire at night.

Fire Scientist Jack Cohen in front of a burned line of trees.

Jack Cohen in front of a burned line of trees near a home that was burned.

Jack Cohen showing the results of a wildfire near a home vegetable garden.

Jack Cohen showing the selective damage to a wooden bench swing near a destroyed home.

A fire-damaged wooden bench swing in front of a line of burned trees.

Jack Cohen showing the distance of clearing at the foundation of a home.

Jack Cohen showing the distance of clearing at the foundation of a home.

Jack Cohen showing debris near the foundation of a wooden garage door that should be cleared away.

Jack Cohen showing an area where fire brands can get under a wooden deck.

Jack Cohen showing the accumulation of dry pine needles under a wooden deck.

Jack Cohen showing one of the major causes of damage to homes during a wildfire -- woodpiles stacked very close to the home.

Jack Cohen showing a juniper bush near a home that has dry needles and grass.

Jack Cohen showing areas near the home where debris may collect.

Jack Cohen showing areas on the roof where debris may collect.

End Title: Presented by Jack Cohen, Missoula Fire Sciences Lab

End Title: Sponsored by Your Local Fire Services

End Title: Contact Your Local Fire Services for More Information

USDA Forest Service - Rocky Mountain Research Station Publications
Last Modified: July 1, 2008
USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.