Wildfire Defensible Space

Property owners are responsible for preparing their properties so fire fighters can more effectively defend communities. The two most significant factors affecting a property's ability to survive a wildfire are the roof and defensible space around a home: the 30 feet immediately adjacent to the structure.

Wildfire mitigation is the process of strategically reducing the fuel load around a structure, so fire fighters can safely defend the property. During an aggressive wildfire, the homes that have mitigated fire hazards will receive priority from fire fighters. Successful wildfire mitigation helps manage fires.

Cordillera was the first community in Eagle County to develop a Community Wildfire Protection Plan and has been certified FireWise since 2005. Association rules require owners to strategically manage fuels around their home so fire fighters can safely defend the property.

Cordillera Wildfire Mitigation Program


Cordillera is located in the "Wildland Urban Interface" (WUI), where many wildfires occur. A wildfire hazard analysis of Cordillera identified hazard ratings for Cordillera neighborhoods that ranged from low to extreme. A large number of homes are located in neighborhoods rated high to extreme. In 2006, the Cordillera Property Owners Association (CPOA) passed a resolution that required all Cordillera property owners to address wildfire hazards and defensible space on their properties according to a five-year schedule. Upon completion of the five-year program, properties are required to maintain this work using the same five-year rotation. 

Property owners may benefit on their Colorado income tax return for certain costs incurred in performing wildfire mitigation.


The first year of the maintenance cycle conducted by the CPOA took place in 2012. This five-year cycle started with the highest hazard neighborhoods and worked to the lower hazard neighborhoods. Each spring the Healthy Forest program schedules property inspections and assists property owners in  fire mitigation. 

Each year the CMD and CPOA mitigates fire hazards adjacent to private property and along roads. 


REALFire is a voluntary property assessment program that helps residents identify specific actions they can take to reduce wildfire hazards. 


Hot embers from wildfire sometimes travel miles and start wildfires when landing on wood shake roofs. Property owners with wood shake roofs are encouraged to keep them clear of combustible debris such as pine needles and leaves. At the Ranch, Summit and Territories, wood shake roofs were once required. In 2005, cedar shake roofs were prohibited in response to studies showing the dangers of shake roofs during a fire. Any work on an existing roof that will affect more than twenty-five percent of the roof will require the entire roof be replaced with non-cedar shake. 

Helpful Contacts

Property owners should contact John Gulick, Healthy Forest Coordinator, to learn more about the requirements for wildfire mitigation. He can be reached at 970-569-6250 and can help locate property lines and explain the area's wildfire hazards.

Visit the Eagle County website to learn more about wildfire management.