Task force: Colorado homeowners should pay to live in burn zones

Gov. John Hickenlooper’s wildfire team unveiled an overhaul of how Colorado deals with the growing problem of people building houses in forests prone to burn, shifting more of the responsibility to homeowners.

The overhaul recommends that lawmakers charge fees on homes built in woods, rate the wildfire risk of the 556,000 houses already built in burn zones on a 1-10 scale and inform insurers, and establish a state building code for use of fire-resistant materials and defensible space.

Sellers of homes would have to disclose wildfire risks, just as they must disclose flood risks. And state health officials would adjust air-quality permit rules to give greater flexibility for conducting controlled burns in overly dense forests to reduce the risk of ruinous superfires.

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