Report on Colorado’s Waldo Canyon Fire Lays Out Roadmap

February 26, 2014

A report detailing vulnerabilities leading to the destruction of nearly 350 homes in Colorado Springs from the 2012 Waldo Canyon Fire provides communities located in wildfire-prone areas guidance on how to reduce risk of wildfire damage.

Among the key findings in the Lessons from Waldo Canyon report produced by the Fire Adapted Communities Coalition are:

  • Creating and maintaining defensible space around homes and businesses, and using ignition-resistant construction techniques.
  • A community-wide approach to wildfire preparedness that includes all stakeholders improves the chances of mitigation efforts. The Colorado Springs Mitigation Section is a good example of this approach. Their actions reduced the number of homes destroyed or damaged during the Waldo Canyon Fire.
  • Using fuels management tools to reduce flammable vegetation found around neighborhoods and in more remote areas is an effective way to reduce the spread of a wildfire.

“The damage would have been worse in Colorado Springs if not for the mitigation practices used in this area, including programs to reduce flammable vegetation surrounding the community and instituting a program that facilitated installation of Class A roof coverings when wood-shake roof coverings were replaced,” said Steve Quarles, senior scientist and wildfire expert with Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, which examined the report.

Lessons from Waldo Canyon is the first post-disaster field investigation report from, a national partnership in which IBHS is an active member.

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