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The Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) is defined as the area or zone where structures and other human development meet or intermingle with undeveloped lands or vegetative fuels. Wildfires in the WUI are very real and pose a potentially disastrous situation. No area is immune from the threat of wildfire and this is particularly true within the WUI.

To reduce the risk of wildfire the following measures are recommended:

  • Thin out continuous tree and brush cover within 30 feet of your home to create “defensible space” around the home site. Ensure tree crowns are spaced at least 10-12 feet apart.
  • Homes located on a slope need to have an enlarged defensible space on the downhill side.
  • Prune branches from trees within the defensible space to a height of 10 feet above the ground. Remove shrubs, small trees, or other potential “ladder” fuels from beneath trees.
  • Remove dead limbs, leaves, and other ground litter within the defensible space. Dispose of all slash and debris left from thinning by removal from site, lop and scatter, or chipping.
  • Maintain an irrigated greenbelt adjacent to the home using grass, flower gardens, or ornamental shrubbery. Use rock as mulch, avoiding bark or wood chip mulch in this area.
  • Mow or graze dry grasses and weeds and irrigate the area during periods of high fire danger.
  • Clean roof and gutters of pine needles and leaves to eliminate a potential ignition source.
  • Stack firewood uphill and at least 15 feet away from your home.

Wildfire Quick Facts

  • Wildfires occur in ALL seasons of the year.
  • Wildfires occur in grass, brush, and trees.
  • Wildfires occur in all sizes and locations.
  • Wildfires move with incredible speed!

The action taken now to implement a defensible space project can help to protect your home in the future. Contact your local fire district or Colorado State Forest Service office for help.

Additional resources available:

Forest Home Fire Safety. CSU Ext. Factsheet 6.304:

Living with Fire: A Guide for the Homeowner. CSFS: 

Protecting Your Home from Wildfire: Creating Wildfire-Defensible Zones. CSFS:

For additional information or for help, contact:

Colorado State Forest Service, Steamboat Springs District

2667 Copper Ridge Circle, Unit 1

Steamboat Springs, CO 80487