FRISCO — Neighborhoods looking to reduce wildfire threats can now apply for grants under a state program that will disburse a total of $5.2 million for projects that reduce the risk for damage to property, infrastructure, and water supplies, and those that limit the likelihood of wildfires spreading into populated areas.
Social scientists to probe homeowner behavior in the red zone
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — A pair of University of Colorado Boulder social science researchers will use a $298,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to try and determine what sort of information shapes homeowner behavior in fire-prone areas on Colorado’s Western Slope.
In the past 10 years, the social and economic costs of wildfires have soared across the country, and especially in the West. As wildfire hazards increase, mitigating risks on individual properties is of paramount importance.
Due to surface fuel accumulation, Fourmile Canyon Fire burned more intensely in some treated zones
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY —A report on the 2010 Fourmile Canyon Fire will probably raise more questions than it answers for firefighters and land managers, concluding that, in some cases, the ferocious fire near Boulder may have burned more intensely in treated areas than in adjacent untreated stands.
That may have been due to the relatively high concentration of surface fuels remaining after treatments, as well as the higher wind speeds that can occur in open forests compared to those with denser canopies, Forest Service researchers concluded in the report published last month.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Local homeowners and communities once have the opportunity to reduce wildfire risks to their neighborhoods through two grant programs, with a total of $300,000 available for mitigation projects.
Up-front mitigation costs generally pay off for property owners
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Fire officials in the Lake Tahoe region of California are trying a novel approach to encourage more wildfire mitigation on private property by offering cash rebates of up to $1,000 to cover tree removal costs and other expenses. The rebates will cover up to 50 percent of the total cost of creating defensible spaces around homes. The program is sponsored by a partnership of agencies in the region, according to the TahoeFiresafe.com website.
In Colorado, homeowners can qualify for up to $2,500 in income tax deductions for wildfire mitigation work on their property through 2014.
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.