On December 30, 2021, the devastating Marshall Fire damaged more than 1,000 homes, many commercial structures, burned over 6,000 acres, and changed the lives of thousands of Boulder County residents. The cause of the fire was found to be embers of a trash fire and an unmoored power line.

Smart Home America was invited to join After the Fire on its second visit in late July 2023 to help support the Marshall Fire recovery. The group’s focus was to provide rebuilding recovery, insurance, and mortgage resources. We were there for three days, touring the cities of Louisville and Superior. 

Colorado is not only susceptible to wildfires but also severe high wind and hail events. Together with the Insurance Institute of Business and Home Safety (IBHS), we shared the benefits of building using the FORTIFIED and the Wildfire Prepared Home™ standards with Boulder County homebuilders and residents.

FORTIFIED is a voluntary construction and re-roofing program designed to strengthen homes, multifamily, and commercial buildings against severe weather such as high winds, hail, hurricanes, and even tornadoes. It is a free resilient construction standard based on decades of scientific research by IBHS. Third-party verification ensures that the upgraded construction materials and installation methods are used to meet the standards required by the FORTIFIED program.

The Wildfire Prepared Home program was created to help with the devastating wildfire damage that often occurs in the Western States. Construction methods taught under this program include Class A fire-rated roof cover specifications, consistent removal of debris from around the home and nearby surrounding areas (called defensible space), noncombustible siding, gutters, and downspouts, ember, and flame-resistant vents, and vertical noncombustible clearance at the base of walls.

Smart Home America will continue our work with Colorado nonprofit developers and homebuilders to add both FORTIFIED and Wildfire Prepared Home into their workflows and provide training. There is an intense need for resilient construction in the state as the risk of damage from hail, high wind, and wildfire increases.