Fire Code Changes Presented at City Council
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Colorado Springs, CO – As a result of the Waldo Canyon Fire, the Colorado Springs Fire Department’s Division of the Fire Marshal is proposing amending the fire code to improve safety conditions and prevent severe wildfires and potential structure loss in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) area of our community. The Division met with over 1,200 citizens, the Home Builders Association (HBA), City Council and the Mayor to develop this amendment to the fire code. The collaborative efforts focused on increasing the ignition-resistance of structures.
“This code change is intended to further the safety of our community and the safety for the generations to come,” said Fire Marshal Brett Lacey.
Mayor Bach added, “This is a responsible action by the City to help homeowners have better protection.”
The first reading of the fire code amendment was presented at the City Council meeting today, December 11, 2012 and will be voted on at the next formal Council meeting later this month.
Ignition Resistant Construction – Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does the new ordinance apply to the entire City?
A: No, the ordinance only applies to new homes within the Hillside Overlay boundaries of the City of Colorado Springs. The map can be found online at http://www.springsgov.com/Files/hill.pdf
Q: Does the ordinance apply to exterior renovation such as replacing a deck or siding?
A: No, the ordinance is written to only apply to new or rebuilt homes. However, nothing in the ordinance would prohibit a homeowner from voluntarily using Ignition Resistant Construction Materials for home improvement projects.
Q: Does the ordinance require me to remove all the vegetation from within 30 feet of my existing home?
A: No, the area around the home known, as the safety zone, can contain vegetation. Small patches or clusters of brush or trees are allowed, but must be separated by at least 10’ from other combustible materials.
Q: What is a Character Tree?
A: A character tree is defined as an existing large, mature tree that is unique to the site, i.e. species specific, wildlife habitat, sentimental, fire survivor, etc.
Q: What if there are trees within 15’ of my home, but they are not on my property?
A: You can’t treat what you don’t own. You can only clean up the vegetation on your own property.
Q: My home was built under the provisions of the original Hillside Ordinance, do I have to now comply with the new ordinance or am I exempt?
A: Only new or rebuilt homes have to comply with the ordinance. Existing homes need only comply with ordinances that were in place at the time of construction of their home, or any conditions that were recorded on the development plan for your specific property.
Q: Am I limited to only those building materials listed in the ordinance or design manual?
A: The ordinance was written to be flexible and to give homeowners options in the materials they use to build their home. CSFD will evaluate various products upon request for consideration of approval as ignition resistant.