Perry Park in Colorado is no stranger to devastating wildfires. The community, with a population of less than 2,000 people and over 600 homes, was evacuated during the Hayman Fire of 2002.
The Hayman Fire is considered the largest of the Colorado wildfires in the state’s recorded history. There were hundreds of firefighters who fought the fast-moving fire, it would indirectly and directly be the reason for six deaths, caused nearly $40 million in firefighting costs and forced the evacuation of 5,340 people.
In 2000, the board of directors of the Perry Park Metropolitan District took it upon themselves to address the potential wildfire problem. They received a Colorado State Fire Assistance Grant of $45,000 in order for the community to become more Firewise. The following year they received a second grant of $100,000.
They created the Perry Park Firewise program. The community was surveyed and an overwhelming number of people told the board that wildlife and forest were as important to them as their homes.
The first part of the program was the educational and informational efforts. The board used the message of “Saving the Forest=Saving the Wildfire=Protecting Property Values=Being Firewise” to raise awareness. The second part of the program is slash disposal that works for the community. The amount of fuel that was treated in 2002 was triple what was treated in 2001.
Read more about Perry Park in their success page.
And more than that, there are other communities in Colorado that took the initiative to becoming Firewise. Read about them on their page.