Up-front mitigation costs generally pay off for property owners
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Fire officials in the Lake Tahoe region of California are trying a novel approach to encourage more wildfire mitigation on private property by offering cash rebates of up to $1,000 to cover tree removal costs and other expenses. The rebates will cover up to 50 percent of the total cost of creating defensible spaces around homes. The program is sponsored by a partnership of agencies in the region, according to the TahoeFiresafe.com website.
In Colorado, homeowners can qualify for up to $2,500 in income tax deductions for wildfire mitigation work on their property through 2014.
Fire experts say up-front expenses to help protect property always pay off in the long run compared to the massive costs of fighting fires and restoring burned areas.
To qualify for the rebate, Tahoe homeowners first need to have their properties inspected to identify needed work, then contact officials to get their rebate voucher. Once they’ve hired a contractor to do the required brush and tree removal, the rebate is issued after a follow-up inspection shows that all the required work has been done.
Creating defensible space generally includes common-sense steps like removing dead vegetation, including dead shrubs, dried grass, fallen branches, pine needles, pine cones, as well as thinning brush and trees and removing ladder fuels that allow fires to creep up into tree tops.