Who can think of a better job than visiting four Firewise communities surrounded by snowcapped peaks? On March 22, Jacob McCarthy, forester with the Granby District of the Colorado State Forest Service, and I traveled to his district meeting with our Firewise champions from the Pole Creek Meadows, Summit Estates, Highlands Estates and Shock Hill Firewise Communities. We also met their local fire department partners in the East Grand County Fire Protection District #4, and Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District.
We took a tour of each community to see all the great wildfire mitigation work they’ve done over the years. The mountain pine beetle epidemic hit these communities hard. In most cases, they lost 80-90% of their lodgepole pines. Standing dead trees were everywhere around them. The fuel loading was extreme. It was amazing to see how they partnered with their local fire departments and natural resource managers to reduce the wildfire hazard, while promoting a new, and more wildfire resistant forest for the future. All were proud to report a high level of participation by their neighbors.
When I asked the fire departments if their opinion had changed about the defensibility of the communities, both reported firefighter safety, previously an issue, had been addressed. And, now they have a chance to save more homes where no firefighter dared go before.
Firefighters can learn more about Firewise principles, safety training, and tips on how to work with your community to become safer from wildfire. Check out the “firefighter” section on the Firewise website.
Other resources are available through the Firewise online catalog including a
East Grand County Fire Protection District representatives (Dennis, Todd and John) with Pete Peterson (second from left), Pole Creek Estates Firewise Community, and Jacob McCarty (center), CSFS
Matt Benedict, Capt., Paul Kuhn, Deputy Chief of Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District with Bill Statz, Summit Estates Firewise Community, and Jacob McCarthy, CSFS
Ted Lawson (left) and Gary Gallagher (second from right), Highlands Estates Firewise Community with Red, White & Blue FPD and CSFS reps.
Matt Benedict, Red, White & Blue FPD, John Quigley, Shock Hills Firewise Community, and Jacob McCarthy, CSFS Granby District
All Photos by Keith Worley. Taken 3-22-2012.