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The Town of Vail recently issued the following press release on the Vail Fire and Emergency Services’ informational gatherings on its “Fire Free Five” concept of landscaping:
Vail Fire and Emergency Services is hosting a series of neighborhood gatherings to provide information and answer questions about the department’s proposal to help property owners protect their structures from the threat of wildfire. As proposed, the ‘Fire Free Five’ concept would require a five-foot-wide zone of non-combustible landscaping around all buildings in Vail.
Two informational meetings have been scheduled which will include a short presentation on Fire Free Five followed by a question-and-answer session:
Representatives from the department will also be available at the Town of Vail Annual Community Meeting from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on March 8 at Donovan Pavilion to answer questions about the proposal.
While the Fire Free Five zone is currently required for new development and significant additions, the department is recommending community-wide implementation over a three-year period beginning in 2025.
Fire Chief Mark Novak says the proposal is the most critical step property owners can do to protect their structure from a wildfire. Creation of a non-combustible buffer helps keep embers from igniting a home and helps prevent the type of structure-to-structure ignition that occurred during the devasting Marshall fire in Boulder County. Novak says scientific studies released in 2021 have pointed to expanded risks to higher elevation communities such as Vail. Between 2001 and 2017, fires above 8,000 feet in elevation have nearly tripled in frequency and the number of acres burned compared to the previous 17 years.
Community members are encouraged to attend an information session to learn how the proposal can help protect structures while maintaining community aesthetics.
Adoption of the proposed community-wide ‘Fire Free Five’ regulations will require review and consideration of an ordinance by Town Council.