Firewise Communities/USA® get busy when it comes to making changes in their neighborhoods. The Firewise Day for many communities becomes a work day. This is an opportunity for the whole neighborhood to get together for a common cause, rolling up their sleeves and making changes to their landscapes or homes that will increase the wildfire safety of their homes and neighborhoods. Many communities create a “Chipper Day” or “Clean Up Day” event that is open to all in the neighborhood. These types of Firewise Days help communities engage in peer to peer mentoring so that they do not only work together but also share best practices about what types of activities will help make the biggest difference. Many of these work events end with a community meal or carnival, a reward for their labors. However, the biggest reward is the satisfaction of knowing that they are working towards keeping their communities safer, keeping them Firewise.
Spanish Peaks at La Veta, Colorado
Spanish Peaks held a “Chipper Day” in July for Firewise Day. The residents were asked to clean up their properties, and stack brush and branches along the road in advance of the rental of the chipper. Residents were asked to stack the limbs and brush with the butt ends all facing in the same direction either toward or parallel to the road, which helps to feed the chipper faster.
On July 12, at 9 AM, 13 volunteers of all ages assembled at the park and started chipping stacks of limbs, brush, and trees. At noon, they stopped for a hot lunch prepared by 4 women in the community. After lunch, they began towing the chipper around the community, chipping the stacks along the road. They put a lot of the chips in trailers to take to the Spanish Peaks Scout Ranch, to help control erosion in the area that burned the year before. They finished chipping at about 4 PM. They noted that the group was able to work faster than the year before.
Spanish Peaks tells us, “The first year we worked for 2 ½ days before completing all the piles. We timed the amount of time required for each stop, so we know approximately the time a pile would take to chip, and determined that $2.00 a minute would pay for the chipper rental and fuel. Stacking the limbs and brush with the butt ends all facing the same direction helped to chip them faster. We were through shortly after 4 PM. We are getting smarter!”
Highlands Park Property Owners Association at Breckenridge, Colorado
The Town of Breckenridge sponsored two 4 day Firewise clean-up events. During August 25-29 and September 15-19, residents were encouraged to clean up their lots, and remove dead trees and slash. Approximately 50 Highland Park Association members participated to clean the lots and areas around structures.
Highland Park Property Owners Association tells us, “The Town of Breckenridge sponsored a community-wide clean-up/removal of dead trees and slash this summer. The project raised awareness of the importance of keeping the area as clean as possible of combustible materials, and helps our residential area to be more fire prevention aware.”
Spanish Peaks Chipper Day submitted by the community