FROM THE ARCHIVES: Subdivision wildfire mitigation program saves homes

The trees on a ridge above Cedar Heights go up in flames on Sunday afternoon, June 24, 2012. (Photo: Jerilee Bennett/The Gazette)

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED SUNDAY, JULY 1, 2012: There are fire experts telling 11 News that there's a specific reason some homes were saved. Ten years of wildfire mitigation paid off for nearly 200 homeowners.

Now, the neighbors in one subdivision are helping to show others how to protect their homes.

Dick Standaert lives in the Cedar Heights subdivision and helped to start their wildfire mitigation program.

"Essentially we were eliminating the fuel from houses. We did that for over 10 years up to this particular day," Standaert said.

Just five years ago, they were given a pre-disaster grant from FEMA to help with the mitigation in a 300-acre conservation area within the subdivision.

"The bases of what we did was reduce the dead and excessive fuel load that we had in this particular area," Standaert said.

A couple years ago homeowners worked with Colorado Springs fire and police to run a practice evacuation drill. They had to put it to use the night the Waldo Canyon Fire started.

"We saw the black smoke; you're not certain how far away that fire is. It looks like that's right over the ridge, there's a whole different sense of emergency, of haste," Standaert said.

He said their mitigation committee is being contacted by other neighborhoods and HOAs who are hopeful to follow their lead.

If you'd like help from CSFD to mitigate your home, you can go to their website at to find out how.