Wildfire Defensible Space

Wildfire Defensible Buffer Zones

wildfires

Wildfire Buffer Zones can be used to reduce fire damage to buildings and sensitive areas in landscapes prone to wildfire. This guide from the USDA National Agroforestry Center shows what you can do to to increase the defensible space around your home and property. If you have any additional questions regarding wildfire safety, see the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control’s website here.

Zone 1. A minimum of 30 feet is needed for firefighters to protect a structure from wildfire. On a slope, increase the distance to 100 feet downhill of the structure. Use low growing and low flammability plants, spaced apart from each other. Remove dead material.

Zone 2. Deciduous trees and shrubs and widely-spaced conifers may be used in Zone 2. Remove branches within 8 feet of the ground (but no more than 30 percent of the height of the tree) and space trees so that crowns remain at least 10 feet apart at maturity. Remove ladder fuels which are tree limbs and other materials that allow fire to burn into the tree crown.

Zone 3. Manage this zone to maintain forest stand health and other landowner objectives. Limit number of dead trees or snags but save some for wildlife (1 to 2 snags/acre). Check with your local forester for additional guidelines.

Characteristics of Low Flammability Plants

• Supple moist leaves and water-like, thin sap

• Little or no accumulation of dead vegetation on the plant

• Open and loose branching structure

Source: https://www.fs.usda.gov/nac/buffers/guidelines/5_protection/11.html

If you liked this post be sure to check our others out here! We would love to help you find your Next Home. Give us a call at (970) 507-8655 to talk to a Southwest Colorado expert! You can view our current featured listings here.

Healthier Mountain Living

Why Living In The Mountains Is Healthier

It’s easy to fall in love with the mountains. Fresh air is abundant, the weather is fairly temperate, and the views are some of the best mother nature has to offer. Living in the mountains can actually be healthier for you too, believe it or not. If you don’t believe me, here are a few facts to convince you!

Healthier
Lake San Cristobal – Photo By: Gavin Kiker

 

  • Inspiration To Be Active  The rocky mountains are inspirational simply by nature. The peaks tower over everything else, begging to be seen. When you are surrounded by views as beautiful as the rocky mountains, you are sure to become inspired to explore and be active!
  • Altitude Burns Calories – Studies have proven that the human body burns more calories while expending energy at high altitude than it does while at lower altitudes. This means that a mile hike in the mountains will burn more calories than the same hike down lower; plus you get to enjoy the mountain views!
  • Clean Air – There’s nothing better than taking a deep breath of fresh mountain air. Less pollution at higher altitudes can directly improve asthma symptoms and other acute respiratory symptoms. The smell of pine, which is especially common in the rockies, has been proven to help alleviate stress and depression. If you have trouble sleeping, try to find some lavender at the base of the pines. It can help you fall asleep!
  • Less Risk Of Heart Disease – Studies have shown that people who live at higher altitudes can have a certain gene activated that significantly decreases the risk of dying from ischemic heart disease. When your body has to work harder every day to take in oxygen, it automatically improves your cardiovascular fitness! This makes your heart stronger and more resilient to rough conditions.
  • Statistically Longer Life Span – Researchers have found that the 10 million people who live over 4,900ft above sea level typically live one to three years longer than people living closer to sea level. This is just another benefit of living at high altitude!

Thanks for reading through today’s post! If you have any questions, or if you would like to talk with a NextHomie, give us a call at (970) 507-8655. To view our current listings, see our featured homes page here. We can’t wait to help you find your Next Home.

Fall Colors

The Best Drives For Fall Colors

Fall is here, and fall colors aren’t far behind! You can find beautiful scenery just about everywhere in this state, but the roads listed below are some of the best to see the bright yellows and oranges of autumn!

Fall Colors
Photo By: Gavin Kiker 
  1. San Juan Skyway – The San Juan Skyway is one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the country. This 232 mile loop will take you through two National Forests, four mountain passes, and nine historic Colorado mountain towns. It takes roughly 7 hours to drive the loop all the way through, but we recommend taking your time and exploring along the way! Even if you choose to tackle just one section of the loop, you are sure to find large swathes of fall colors and beautiful scenery. Most of this drive is 2wd-friendly, but some parts may require higher clearance. If you are scared of heights, be warned there are some steep drop-offs as well as sections of road without guardrails in several spots on this drive.
  2. Boreas Pass – Boreas Pass Road stretches the 20 miles between Como and Breckenridge. This easily-accessible mountain road reaches 11,493 feet above sea level and eventually crosses the Continental Divide! This wonderful road has less traffic than others during the fall, making it a great area to see the colors change without crowds. The aspens on this road may form a tunnel in certain spots, making for a truly amazing view. This road is easily accessible by 2wd vehicles with low ground clearance.
  3. Kebler Pass – Kebler Pass is an awesome high-mountain pass connecting Crested Butte with Paonia to the West. This pass reaches 10,007 feet above sea level at it’s summit in the Gunnison National Forest. This drive takes you through one of the largest aspen groves in the United States, in the West Elk Mountains. You will travel West from Crested Butte to Highway 133, just north of the tiny mining village of Somerset. The road is accessible by low-clearance 2wd vehicles and takes roughly 2 hours to drive through. It is open seasonally, May through November.
  4. Trail Ridge Road – Trail Ridge Road is a stretch of US Hwy 34 that takes you from the East side of Estes Park to Grand Lake, CO in the West. It is the highest paved through road in Colorado, peaking at 12,183 feet above sea level. 11 miles of this road are above the tree line, making for great, almost aerial views of the autumn colors below. Driving straight through takes roughly 2 hours, but there are enough pull-outs, scenic overlooks, and side trails to make this drive a full daytrip!
  5. Last Dollar Road – Last Dollar Road is an unpaved, seasonal (Summer & Fall) route that takes you from Ridgeway, CO to Telluride, CO. This trail gives you fully unobstructed views of Wilson Peak and the Sneffels Mountain Range. The fall colors will really start to show around mid-September, making Last Dollar Road a great destination for photographers.
  6. Independence Pass – Independence Pass, the highest paved pass in the United States, passes over the Continental Divide between Leadville and Aspen. This pass is 32 miles long and summits at 12,095 feet above sea level. There are many places to stop and take in the views along this road. Roaring Fork River hugs the road for several miles and there are also several great aspen grove views along the way.
  7. Alpine Loop – Alpine Loop is a circular route that takes you over Cinnamon Pass and Engineer Pass. It connects Lake City with Ouray and Silverton. The loop is 65 miles long and can be completed in as little as 7 hours. There are several abandoned mining and old west features along the trail that you can explore; they make for interesting foregrounds in your fall color photos!
  8. Pikes Peak Highway – Pikes Peak Highway is 19 miles each way and takes about 2 hours round trip to drive. Once to the top, you are greeted with 360 degree views of the mountains, including the front range. Pikes Peak highway is a great place for large panoramas of the changing fall colors!
  9. Bachelor Loop Tour –  The Bachelor Loop Tour is a 17 mile loop that takes you through the historic mining district above Creede, CO. This 4wd-accessible road takes you through several ghost towns from the mining boom, some of which once rivaled Creede in size! There are many photo opportunities along this loop so be sure to bring your camera. High clearance vehicles are recommended for the best experience.

These are just a handful of the hundreds of places to see the Fall colors Colorado is so known for. If you are wanting to plan a trip, but can’t decide when, the Forest Service has a regularly updated Fall Color Report that tells you what stage the leaves are at! If all this talk about Colorado has made you want a home of your own here, you can view our featured listings or give us a call at (970) 507-8655!

Crazy Colorado Weather

Snow In September!

Colorado is having trouble making up it’s mind on the weather this month! The beginning of the month held several 90F+ days and forest fires throughout the state. September 8th however, we experienced a temperature drop of nearly 50 degrees and enough rain and snow to leave the ground muddy! Wolf Creek Pass got 13 inches of snow, A full 13 days before the solstice!

Snow In September
Wolf Creek Ski Area

This moisture is greatly appreciated, even if it’s a little early! Visit our website to view property available for sale in this winter wonderland!

 

Off to the Sand Dunes

Great Sand Dunes National Park

Sometimes staying in the same place for too long can be tiring, especially in the midst of a pandemic. Luckily, Southern Colorado is full of places to explore! If you are having trouble deciding where to go or just looking for somewhere to escape for the day, Great Sand Dunes National Park is a great place to start!

Topping out at around 755 feet high, these impressive sand dunes are the tallest in North America. The dunes are surrounded by the 14,000 ft. peaks of the Sangre De Cristo mountain range, the Southernmost range of the Rocky Mountains. The contrast between the light sand of the dunes and the dark greens and blues of the mountains makes for a truly stunning view. If you like taking photos, you are sure to enjoy this area!

Sand Dunes
Photo By: Gavin Kiker

In addition to taking in the views, visitors to the Great Sand Dunes can enjoy hiking and camping all throughout the park, splashing in Medano Creek when it’s flowing, and even sand-boarding and sledding. (Think snowboarding but with sand.) Sand toys are available to rent right before entering the park.

If driving slow offroad is more your speed, the Medano Pass Primitive Road may be for you! This 22 mile 4wd-only trail connects the Great Sand Dunes with Wet Mountain Valley and Colorado State Highway 69. The trail crosses Medano Creek nine times, and also takes you through some deep sand and even Bighorn Sheep habitat at the higher elevations.

Whether you want to backpack in and spend the night, or just pack a picnic and take some photos, Great Sand Dunes National Park makes for a wonderful Southern Colorado day trip! If you would like to see our featured homes in the area, click here. Don’t forget to like NextHome Rocky Mountain Realty & Rentals on Facebook for weekly virtual open houses and more!

Fire Ban Lifted

Campfires Now Legal

With monsoon season now upon us, the San Juan National Forest’s fire danger level has finally dipped down to moderate level. This means you can now have a campfire on your next outdoor adventure. Campfires are a great way to spend a warm summer night in Pagosa Springs, and in order to continue enjoying them,  we’ve put together some general guidelines to follow:

  • Clear 3 feet of ground down to dirt surrounding your campfire.
  • Bring a shovel and water with you, just in case.
  • Keep campfires small; they are much easier to control & put out.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Insure your campfire is completely out before leaving. If the coals are too hot for you to touch, you shouldn’t leave!

If you would like to see the current fire danger and restrictions, click here.

Following these easy guidelines helps to keep our forests open and healthy!

Campfire
Photo By: Gavin Kiker

 

Free Fishing Weekend – June 6 to June 7, 2020

 

 

Free Fishing Weekend – June 6 to June 7, 2020

                  A great time to try fishing in Colorado!

fishing1 fish2

The fish are starting to bite at waters all around the state. To give everyone an opportunity to get out and get some hits, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is inviting resident and nonresident anglers of all ages to participate in its annual Free Fishing Weekend on June 6 to 7. The free fishing weekend is a great way to get outside with family and friends and take advantage of Colorado’s extensive opportunities to fish for a myriad of cold and warm water fish species.

Tips & Hotspots

There are many resources that Colorado Parks and Wildlife offers to help those interested in fishing throughout the state:

  • Fishing Report– This report offers a weekly fishing report from lakes all around Colorado
  • Fishing Atlas– This is an interactive map that shows the many waters people can fish in Colorado
  • 101 Places to Take a Kid Fishing– this webpage has an interactive map showing all of the possible places to take a kid fishing
  • Stocking Report– The stocking report shows lakes, ponds, and rivers that have been stocked with catchable (9 to 12 inch) trout in Colorado.

https://cpw.state.co.us/free-fishing-weekend

SUMMER TIME~ PAGOSA STYLE

Well it is official, PAGOSA SPRINGS IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS!!

2020.6.3 river

The weather is beautiful & there is plenty of water in the San Juan River to go rafting.  As we all start to get outside more and realize how much we have missed nature. Lets take this to time to EMBRACE LIFE ~ enjoy everyday, tell the ones you care about that you care, do the things that you have longed to do. Enjoy everyday and be thankful for this day.

If you are in need of a vacation rental while in Pagosa Springs, CO or maybe you are moving to Pagosa Springs- or maybe you are looking to BUY in Pagosa Springs, CO – YOU ARE IN LUCK !  We can assist you with all of that, WE have Short term & Long term rentals as well as a experienced & talented Real Estate Agents.

please visit our website at nexthomermr.com or call us at 970-507-8655.

 

6

Wolf Creek ~Fresh Powder~Slope time

Welcome to Pagosa Springs, CO ! One of our main activities when the snow falls is skiing, snow boarding, and sledding or maybe just building the cutest snowman ever. Wolf Creek is one of the best places to play in the snow.  Wolf Creek was able to open on October 13, 2019 this was the second earliest in Wolf Creek history!

Courtesy of Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Wolf Creek is excited to announce the opening of the upper mountain this weekend with Treasure Stoke, Bonanza, Elma, Nova, Lynx and the Magic Carpet lifts operating from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.!  The mountain will now be open 7 days a week starting this Saturday, November 23rd!  The ski area will be closed tomorrow, Friday, November 22nd.

****Snow report for Thursday, November 21st, 2019*****

Summit Base Depth: 18″

Midway Base Depth: 18″

New Snow (24 Hours): 12″

New Snow (48 Hours): 12″

New Snow (72 Hours): 12″

New Snow (7 Days): 12″

Latest Storm Total: 12″

Year-to-Date:  34″

  • Wolf Creek will be open 7 days a week for the season beginning Saturday, November 23rd.
  • Wolf Creek will be closed tomorrow, Friday, November 22nd.
  • To celebrate the opening of the upper mountain, Wolf Creek will be offering the Local Appreciation Rate until further notice.  Local appreciation rates are $54 for adults, $36 for seniors and $29 for children.
  • The Ski School will be available for both adults and children, including the Wolf Pup Program.  The Ski Rental and Boarder Dome will also be open, as well as Treasure Sports.
  • The Wolf Creek Lodge will be open this weekend with a full menu as well as the Prospector Grill, the Continental Espresso Bar and Base Camp, Wolf Creek’s Picnic Building.
  • There will be entertainment in the Main Day Lodge this weekend with Christof the One Man Band from Taos.
  • Check WolfCreekSki.com or 1-800-SKI-WOLF for the most up-to-date information.

With the new snow fall skiing or snowboarding  conditions perfect for your Thanksgiving holiday! There will be plenty of fresh powder when doing big air jumps or if you are more of a novice and biffs are your thing then you are in luck! Check out the rentals tab if you are in need of a short term rental.

Fresh and Fun!

Pagosa Springs East Side Farmers Market will be opened every Saturday and Sunday, starting May 19th until September 28th, from 9:00am to 3:00pm! Make sure to come check out all the fresh fruit they’ll have as well as small businesses and delicious food trucks! Come join the community have fun, eat amazing food and enjoy the live entertainment! Click on the image below to get directions!..

Farmers MarketPhoto Credit to Google Images