Helping prevent a tragedy: East Grand firefighter starts local fire mitigation business
Autumn in the high country is finally upon us and while many citizens might assume that means the local fire danger is lower, September and August have historically been months when Grand County witnesses major wildfire outbreaks, which makes fire mitigation for your home all the more important.
To that end one local firefighter has started a new business. Kunkle Services LLC is managed and operated by local man, David Kunkle, a long-time firefighter with the East Grand Fire Protection District.
Kunkle Services offers a wide range of services including fire mitigation options for local residents to include tree care, pruning, branch and stump removal, and fire mitigation consultation. Basically, customers can call David for all their home fire mitigation needs and concerns. Kunkle will come to your home, look over your property, and provide you with a mitigation plan that will best prepare your property for the dangers of a high country forest fire.
Kunkle has brought his extensive knowledge of fire mitigation, garnered from his years on local fire departments, to his new business venture.
“A lot of people don’t know what it takes to get a house up to code,” Kunkle said. “They don’t know how to make it properly defensible.”
Originally from Pennsylvania Kunkle has lived in Grand County since 1993 and graduated from Middle Park High School. After initially going to Wyotech to student diesel technology he found his true calling as a firefighter. He has been with the East Grand Fire District since 2005 and became an officer of the district four years ago.
While Kunkle offers many different services including tree thinning, basic landscaping — with an eye towards fire mitigation — mulching and chipping, stump removal and more one of the products he offers is called Sunfire Defense. Sunfire Defense is a clear liquid fire defense product that can be rolled on to decks, siding, over paint and more. According to Kunkle Sunfire Defense has been shown to withstand temperatures of up to 3,000 degrees during a 30-minute test without catching fire.
“I have a firefighter’s mindset,” Kunkle said. “I drive into subdivision or to people’s properties and I am always thinking, would I bring a crew in here, would I take my fellow firefighters in to defend this home? Unfortunately a lot of areas around here, the lack of mitigation would make it difficult.”
Kunkle added that the fire mitigation work he does can have multiple benefits. The obvious benefit is a reduction in fire hazards to personal property but fire mitigation work can also help homeowners obtain or maintain their home fire insurance policies and in some cases lower rates.
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