BLACK FOREST, Colo. - Firefighters say it often takes a destructive fire to get people serious about mitigation, but taking action to make a home fire safe can be easier said than done.
Flames crept within a half mile of Chris Yednock's home, stopping before his property line, even with at least 200 trees covering his five and a half acres.
"I should have mitigated," said Yednock. "You don't put a priority on things like that until it hits you in the face."
Now, on a limited budget and with disabilities from his years in the military, he's doing what he can, cutting down branches with a chain saw.
"I'm trying to mitigate. What I've gotten done is pretty much a 50 yard area right now," said Yednock. "And I have a lot more to do."
He said another huge concern is the vacant property next to his: 350 acres for sale covered in trees with low-hanging branches and a lot of dead wood.
Fire officials say homeowners need to contact their local fire department to get help with mitigation plans. In Black Forest, for example, firefighters will give residents a free wildland assessment, walking over a property and helping construct a plan.
The Wescott Fire Department has obtained grants that will pay for half of residents mitigation costs. People can also contact the U.S. Forest Service office in Woodland Park for more information on grants available.
There is also a tax deduction available for wildfire mitigation, allowing people to deduct half of their expenses up to $2,500.
The Black Forest Fire Department says another resource right now is volunteers willing to help those in need.
More information on federal grants is available here. For more information on keeping your home safe and preparing to evacuate click here for the Fire Adapted Communities website and here for the Ready, Set, Go! site.