Did you ever wonder how your community could organize projects and other activities that would make you and your neighbors safer in the event of a wildfire? Two communities have developed unique “clean up” projects to address their fire risk. By accurately and collaboratively evaluating each of their respective neighborhoods’ real risk, examining the resources available to them and following ordinances in place in their communities, they developed individualized projects that worked for them. Whether you use a chipper, dumpster or other means to help your community reduce risk the important thing is to take action together to protect your community. Over time as these communities continue to promote and engage in Firewise Activities, they will create communities that are more resilient in the event of a wildfire.
Woodrock at Divide, Colorado
Woodrock developed a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) with the assistance of the Colorado State Forest Service and the local Fire Department before becoming a Firewise Community. Community members mitigated their properties on their own, or with the assistance of some grant money. The community set up “chipper days”, when the Coalition of Upper South Platte comes in with their chipper to help homeowners with slash disposal.
The community says, “One of the biggest challenges has been to get the participation of out-of-state property owners. However, we have had a fair amount of luck in that area. This may be attributed to the word getting out on how mitigation has improved the appearance of properties some ten-fold; how more water and nutrients have made for a healthier forest; how sunlight now reaching the forest floor has produced an abundance of wildflowers and new aspen shoots, and, of course, the most important factor is that we have slowed the possible advance of a wildfire, should one occur.”
Sunlight Waters at Cle Elum, Washington
Sunlight Waters held their first “Clean-up or Burn-Up” Campaign for Firewise Day. The community event featured a workshop for residents conducted by Suzanne Wade with Kittitas County Conservation District. Useful literature on preparing for wildfire was distributed. Property owners were encouraged to reduce fuels around their homes. The Fire Chief and several firefighters brought the fire truck and showed it off to the community and the children. A community barbecue was held.
Sunlight Waters says, “Our first ever “Clean-up or Burn-Up” campaign was a huge success. Property owners 70+ actively took steps to Firewise their properties. SLWCC provided 3 separate 30-yard dumpsters at no cost to the property owners. Each dumpster was filled within 3 days of delivery. We’re doing it again next summer!”
Community Chipper Day photo submitted by Woodrock Firewise Community