Exterior sprinkler system protects from wildfires | PostIndependent.com

Exterior sprinkler system protects from wildfires

The same man who invented the water sprayers found in supermarket produce sections across the country has used the same technology to create Fire Break, a wildfire detector and sprinkler system for home exteriors. Jim Aamodt’s Fire Break system can provide an extra layer of protection between wildfires and houses situated in wildland urban interface areas, generally defined as areas where if a wildfire occurred, it would threaten property and lives. Eddie Hosch, who gave demonstrations Wednesday in Aspen and Glenwood Springs on how the Fire Break system works, said 38 percent of new homes built in the United States fall under the wildland urban interface category. And in Garfield, Eagle and Pitkin counties, that number is even greater.”This isn’t a panacea,” said Hosch of Fire Break. “It’s a powerfully effective tool in fire protection. We still emphasize the need for every homeowner to create defensible space around their houses.” Ron Biggers, Glenwood Springs Fire District fire protection analyst, agrees.”Yes, it’s one tool,” Biggers said. “But people shouldn’t think that if they get one of these systems then they can let their brush go, or not use FireWise construction recommendations when building a new house. It’s still important to trim vegetation and use non-combustible materials when building a house – and if people want to add one of these systems and they have the money, then great.” Ed Van Walraven, fire marshal at Aspen Fire Protection District said the systems make sense for many of Aspen’s expensive homes.”For a $15 to $30 million house, one of these systems is actually inexpensive,” Van Walraven said. Art Hougland, a wildfire mitigation consultant who works in the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys, said Fire Break provides home owners additional protection. He added that the systems can be valuable to the multimillion-dollar homeowner, and also to those who live five miles or more away from the nearest hydrant or fire station.”In Garfield and in Pitkin counties, we have plenty of homes that fit that category,” Hougland said. Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518cclick@postindependent.comhow it works• Depending on the homeowner’s needs, sprinklers and misters can be installed in either new or existing houses every 15′ to 20′ on the roofline, in the eaves and around the house. • In the event of a wildfire threat, using a combination of water and fire retardant – the same used by the Forest Service in aircraft drops minus the red dye – Fire Break sprinklers coat the home, roof and vegetation around the house. • An optional photovoltaic wildfire detector can be installed at the home site that will automatically activate the system in the event of a wildfire.what it costs• Prices start at $5,000-7,000 for a 2,000-square-foot home and can go as high as $22,000 for a 10,000-square-foot home. The photovoltaic wildfire detector cost $9,000 and can be set for variable distances. • Prices don’t include installation.For more information, contact Ron Biggers at 384-6480.

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