Summit Voice, Summit County Wildfire Council partner for public education
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Forest health is one of the most critical long-term issues for Summit County. The things we do — or don’t do — today will affect the landscape and the environment for decades to come.
We don’t have control over everything that happens in the forests around us. Thousands of acres of backcountry, far from neighborhoods, roads and reservoirs, will remain mostly untouched. But for the sake of our children and grandchildren, we do have a responsibility to be informed and responsible stewards of the lands that are under our control. Specifically, that means the edges of the vast White River National Forest, where private lands, Forest Service tracts, county open space lands and areas under permit to local ski resorts all meet.
Our first responsibility is to reduce the risk of serious fires that could threaten lives and property. We can’t eliminate the risk of fire completely, but by continuing the targeted efforts already under way, we can decrease the chances of an uncontrolled fire racing through residential areas. Our second task is to look toward the future and try to restore areas that have been killed by pine beetles. Since we’re disrupting the natural ecology of the lodgepole forest by suppressing fires, we’ll need to figure other ways to restore a healthy forest balance. Once the task of mitigating the most immediate fire danger is mostly done, we need to focus the same energy on reforestation.
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A well-informed citizenry is a key component of making progress in all these areas. Just like it requires a long-term, committed effort to address forest health needs on the ground, constant education and public involvement is needed to make the best possible decisions. With support from, and in partnership with the Summit County Wildfire Council, Summit Voice will try to contribute to that effort and dialogue by providing the best possible information about forest health.
Stay tuned to the Summit Voice forest health blog for updates on fire mitigation efforts and restoration projects, and for information about how you can stay involved with the critical mission of forest stewardship. We’ll provide links to original news stories, websites with information about forest health and fire mitigation and links to news stories from other sources on these topics.
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Summit County Government Wildfire Mitigation – Maps, contacts, safety resources, education and burn permits.
Summit County Forest Health Task Force – educational meetings and forum on forest health, volunteer opportunities and other forest-related issues
Recent Summit Voice forest stories