A Case Study of the Camp Fire – Fire Progression Timeline

After siege of blazes, experts say California must improve wildfire evacuation plans.

This publication is downloadable and available free of charge from:
https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.TN.2135

The Camp Fire. November 8, 2018, Butte County, California. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada, so much like our own inter-mountain Jefferson County, Colorado. Over 18,000 destroyed structures, 700 damaged structures, 85 fatalities. The numbers only tell part of the story.

map of California, Butte CountyFollowing the fire event, this in-depth case study was completed in an effort to better understand Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fire behaviour; how it spreads, why it behaves like it does, how to be better prepared to evacuate populations, and how to structure response to a WUI fire event.

This report also includes a tool to assess a community’s local wildfire hazard and readiness for wildfire. It covers questions such as :
    • Do you have an evacuation plan?
    • What is the capacity of evacuation routes and are they lined with overgrown vegetation?
    • Are there safe assembly areas if evacuation isn’t possible?
    • What percent of the communities enrolled in opt-in warning systems?
    • Do you have a way to relay warnings if there is a loss of power, phone or internet?
It’s a long read, it even takes a long time to download, but it does provide some really good guidelines for planners and leaders, as well as residents.
Download this publication at https://doi.org/10.6028/NIST.TN.2135

What Would You Take If You Had 5 Minutes…

Your phone just rang, it’s a Reverse-911. You need to evacuate, there’s a wildfire threatening your neighborhood and you need to leave NOW. What would you grab in the minutes left before you get in your vehicle and leave your home behind?

The Washington Post, in their Climate & Environment section, ran a gripping story about some folks who fled the Dixie Fire, which destroyed Greenville, California, this past August. Read the full story here.

WaPo typically allows non-subscribers to view up to 3 articles a month. If you can’t read the article right now, here’s a sampling of some of the residents of Greenville were able to save. I encourage you to go back next month and read the full story.

Along with the ashes of her two deceased dogs and several trinkets , Stephanie made sure to grab the book she was reading.
Along with the ashes of her two deceased dogs and several trinkets , Stephanie made sure to grab the book she was reading.
This teen grabbed her Divergent book series and her Pokémon cards, her photo album, which, she says, helps her to remember the good times.
This teen grabbed her Divergent book series and her Pokémon cards, and her photo album, which, she says, helps her to remember the good times.
Joshua saved his great-grandmother's sewing table, which meant a lot to his mom, and a large water bottle.
Joshua saved his great-grandmother’s sewing table, which meant a lot to his mom, and a large water bottle.
Teresa escaped the flames with her dog and the rosary which she always wears around her neck.
Teresa escaped the flames with her dog and the rosary which she always wears around her neck.
Karen was able to grab this quilt, which still keeps her warm.
Karen was able to grab this quilt, which still keeps her warm.
This teen says he mostly wanted to help his family pack, but he remembered to grab his favorite pair of shoes.
This teen says he mostly wanted to help his family pack, but he remembered to grab his favorite pair of shoes.
Jeff grabbed this hat he received as a volunteer for the Forest Fire Lookout Association.
Jeff grabbed this hat he received as a volunteer for the Forest Fire Lookout Association.

Mary rescued the Maidu baby basket in which she and her children rested as infants.
Mary rescued the Maidu baby basket in which she and her children rested as infants.

The Colorado Wildfire Risk Public Viewer

A normal human trait is to avoid looking for trouble before it happens. Unfortunately, engaging in this type of behaviour can lead to unfortunate and even deadly circumstances, especially where wildfire is concerned.

Hence we at C.A.R.E. are presenting the Colorado Wildfire Risk Public Viewer.  https://co-pub.coloradoforestatlas.org/#/

This viewer is a joint venture between the Colorado Forest Service and Colorado State University. It’s designed to increase wildfire awareness, provide a comprehensive view of local wildfire risk and local fire history, and educate about wildfire prevention and mitigation.

Sometimes this is all it takes — seeing your home in relation to real wildfire risk and to encourage you to get busy with the mitigation chores that you’ve been putting off all summer long.

Remember, this viewer contains no guarantees and makes no warranties. Use it to remind  yourself that, as much as we love the land, we have to be aware of the possible risks of living within the woodland-urban interface.

 

What Does a Well-Mitigated Forest Look Like?

In 1944, the longest-running public service campaign in US history took off with the now-familiar message, “Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires”.

Now we have come to realize that this well-meaning approach has had devastating consequences. Our western forests, which evolved with fire as a controlling mechanism to prevent overgrowth, have become grossly overgrown. We’re looking at hundreds of wildfires all over the country, millions of acres and hundreds (if not thousands) of homes charred each year, smoke blanketing the country from coast-to-coast. Wildfire seasons are longer, wildfires burn hotter, hot enough to create their own weather patterns.

Most who are reading this post have moved up into the Front Range since fire suppression was the ruling of the day, so we’re used to seeing forest that resembles something like this:

And in recent years we’ve been serenaded with instructions on how to mitigate the forest on our land, and why we should do so. Few residents have ever seen what these forests used to look like before Smokey Bear came on the scene.

This is what the Ponderosa forests used to look like…mature trees widely spaced. Undergrowth removed by small, fast-moving, lower-temperature fires that occurred every few decades. Open lines of sight through which forest dwellers – deer, elk, bear – could move with safety.

This is Genesee Mountain. In recent years, Denver Mountain Parks conducted forest mitigation on this land. The slash that is an inevitable part of mitigation was chipped and spread out over the land, helping to restrain the growth of excess brush in the understory. This is what properly mitigated forest should look like.

Now that you’ve got the picture, read more about how to mitigate for wildfire in our Fire Season section. This year (2021) Jeffco is offering slash collection every weekend through the end of October, so maybe now is a good time to start that mitigation project, or just a general clean-up around the house? And as always, neighbors and friends, stay safe, stay well.

Last update: 8/25/2021

 

Time sensitive – Request for help with promoting resident and partner participation in County surveys

Dear Partners in and Supporters of Health and Housing Needs in Jefferson County:

We are seeking your assistance with getting word out to as many Jeffco residents as possible about two very important surveys to guide prevention and COVID recovery work in our communities.

Input is being sought from Jefferson County residents through two on-line surveys that will support funding and programming decisions to address a wide variety of needs in our communities.  Participation in these surveys is open through July 28th, 2021.

Please share this information out via emails, newsletters, social media, etc., to anyone living in Jefferson County:

Community Needs Survey – will help the county prioritize use of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to address recovery from the pandemic, specifically for community members who’ve been hit the hardest. The survey is available in English and Spanish at this site:   www.jeffcocovidsurvey.com

Community Health and Wellbeing Survey – focuses on public health prevention services and policies that will help reduce the burden of substance use/abuse, food insecurity, community connectedness and other priority public health concerns that may have been impacted by COVID-19. The results from this survey will help shape Jefferson County Public Health’s future programming and community health policy efforts:

Community Health/Wellbeing Survey in English 

Community Health/Wellbeing Survey in Spanish

In addition to the language, above, which you can copy and use in an email to your networks, and to support your sharing efforts, we have created a suite of materials for social media posts which are attached to this email (sample messages for posting, as well as images).  We also have posters available in Spanish and English with QR codes linking to the two surveys that you may print and post in your agency waiting areas.

Finally, you’ll find a news release linked here which you can share with your networks as well.

Results from the surveys are expected late summer, 2021. If you your org/group is interested in accessing these survey results or has questions, please contact Donna Viverette at dviveret@jeffco.us.

Thank you for your support of community health, wellbeing and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic in Jefferson County!

Tracy R. Volkman, BS, REHS

Senior Environmental Health Specialist

Jefferson County Public Health

645 Parfet St., Lakewood, CO 80215

o 303-271-5763, tvolkman@jeffco.us( I am out of the office on Fridays. My working hours are Monday-Thursday 6:00 AM-4:30 PM.  Thank you.)

Find us on the web: http://jeffco.us/public-health/

Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Instagram

Survey Co-Promotion Posters_7.7.2021 – English

Survey Co-Promotion Posters_7.13.2021 – Spanish

 

Jeffco Slash Collection Calendar

Sat Jun. 5 – Sun Jun. 6

SLASH Collection: June 5-6 @ Coal Creek Fire Department Station 2

Sat Jun. 12 – Sun Jun. 13

SLASH Collection: June 12-13 @ Evergreen High School

Sat Jun. 19 – Sun Jun. 20

SLASH Collection: June 19-20 @ Conifer High School

Sat Jun. 26 – Sun Jun. 27

SLASH Collection: June 26-27 @ Blue Mountain Open Space

Sat Jul. 3 – Sun Jul. 4

SLASH Collection: July 3-4 @ Settlers Drive Property

Sat Jul. 10 – Sun Jul. 11

SLASH Collection: July 10-11 @ West Jefferson Middle School

Sat Jul. 17 – Sun Jul. 18

SLASH Collection: July 17-18 @ Jeffco Evergreen Road & Bridge Shop

Sat Jul. 24 – Sun Jul. 25

SLASH Collection: July 24-25 @ Beaver Ranch Park

Sat Jul. 31 – Sun Aug. 1

SLASH Collection: July 31-August 1 @ Golden Gate Grange

Sat Aug. 7 – Sun Aug. 8

SLASH Collection: August 7-8 @ Jeffco Evergreen Road & Bridge Shop

Sat Aug. 14 – Sun Aug. 15

SLASH Collection: August 14-15 @ Jeffco Indian Hills Road & Bridge Shop, 4267 Comanche Road

Sat Aug. 21 – Sun Aug. 22

SLASH Collection: August 21-22 @ Foothills Fire Department – Rainbow Hills Station, 28812 Rainbow Hill Road

Sat Aug. 28 – Sun Aug. 29

SLASH Collection: August 28-29 @ Evergreen Fire District – Station 8, 33377 Forest Estates Road

Sat Sep. 4 – Sun Sep. 5

SLASH Collection: September 4-5 @ Wagon Wheel Open Space, 20340 Spring Gulch Road

Sat Sep. 11 – Sun Sep. 12

SLASH Collection: September 11-12 @ Settlers Drive Property, 8335 Settlers Drive

Sat Sep. 18 – Sun Sep. 19

SLASH Collection: September 18-19 @ Blue Mountain Open Space, 23401 Coal Creek Canyon Rd

Sat Sep. 25 – Sun Sep. 26

SLASH Collection: September 25-26 @ Shaffer’s Crossing Rd & Bridge Shop, 13008 Parker Avenue

Sat Oct. 2 – Sun Oct 3

SLASH Collection: October 2-3 @ Beaver Ranch Park, 11369 South Foxton Road

Sat Oct. 9 – Sun Oct 10

SLASH Collection: October 9-10 @ Beaver Ranch Park, 11369 South Foxton Road

Sat Oct. 16 – Sun Oct 17

SLASH Collection: October 16-17 @ Mount Vernon Country Club, 25158 Aspen Way

Sat Oct. 23 – Sun Oct 24

SLASH Collection: October 23-24 @ South Road & Bridge Shop. 9509 West Ute Avenue

Sat Oct. 30 – Sun Oct 31

SLASH Collection: October 30-31 @ Thunder Valley Park, 701 South Rooney Road

 

 

 

 

Betcha Didn’t Know This!

As we approach our Wildfire Season, thoughts may be turning to “When a wildfire happens and we have to evacuate, how does this all work? Who’s in charge? When will we find out if we have to leave? What should I do if I get an evacuation call, and who will it come from?”

Alan Anderson, our Foothills Fire Protection District Fire Chief, offers this illuminating description of what, who, why, where, when and how…

Your fire district is not “responsible for emergency evacuation routes”. We certainly identify and educate the public on those routes, through social media, community events, and of course in our CWPP(Community Wildfire Protection Plan). However, it is the responsibility of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to facilitate evacuation of our community in the event of an emergency (including wildfires). The responsibility of actually evacuating, lies with each community member and visitor.

The best way that I explain this to community members is using the example that when there is a fire, the fire department is going towards the fire. We are responding to the actual incident and we are responsible for mitigating the hazard (putting the fire out). We do not stop to direct traffic or close roads and point people in the direction of safety. This is all facilitated by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. In an actual emergency situation, they will use their deputies, CDOT, Colorado State Patrol, and any other local resource to make this happen.

When we had the Bald Mt. Fire behind Mt. Vernon in September of 2019. We sent all of our apparatus, paid staff, and volunteers into the forest to fight the fire. Myself and Chief Vaughn [sic] created a command post at Ralston Elementary parking lot. This command post was initially created by combining Foothills Fire senior leadership and the senior on duty officer with Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office (usually a Commander). We convened at the back of the Sheriff’s car and on a computer, we identified which way the fire was going based on our crews at the fire. Fire then tells the Sheriff’s Dept. what areas of our community to begin either evacuating or pre-evacuating. These areas are determined through defined polygons that Jefferson County has built into their computer system. Residents and visitors are notified through cell phone notifications and notification systems such as CODE RED.

I hope this offers you a better understanding of how it works and who is responsible for various tasks. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with further questions.

With kind regards,

Alan Anderson, Fire Chief, Foothills Fire Protection District

28812 Rainbow Hill Rd, Evergreen, CO 80439

AlanAnderson@FoothillsFire.org

FoothillsFire.org

Office – 303-526-0707, Cell – 720-775-8765

Wildfire Preparedness Digital Resources

It’s never too early to start preparing for the wildfire season that will soon be upon us. As I sit in my kitchen, looking out at the March snows coating the yard, I recall that just last month we had 4 wildfires in the Front Range.

So let’s get busy and get ready, because it’s coming.

Many thanks to Cindy Latham, Chair of Rotary Wildfire Ready, who forwarded these resources to us. It is with her permission that we are posting these.  Ready Set Go, Wildfire Action GuideRead Ready, Set, Go! The Wildfire Action Guide online. Download PDF here.

Read the Home Assessment Checklist online. Download PDF here.

Read Harden Your Home online. Download PDF here.

 Read Defensible Space online. Download PDF here.

Read Emergency Go Bag online. Download PDF here.

To read all of the brochures online, go to https://simplebooklet.com/rotarywildfirereadybepreparedforwildfire.

Colorado Home Insurance Checkup: Questions to Ask Your Agent/Broker – download here.

Preparedness Tips from the Trenches: United Policyholders – download here.

You can get more information at rotarywildfireready.com, or contact Cindy directly at rotarywildfireready@gmail.com.

 

Quarterly Meeting Minutes

CARE Upcoming 2021 Meeting Dates (via Zoom)
Wednesdays at 7PM Tentative, contact Secretary@CAREjeffco.org for a meeting link 24 hours prior to:

                  • Wednesday Oct 20

Quarterly Meeting Minutes

July 14, 2021 (draft)

April 21, 2021

January 20, 2021

October 29, 2020

July 15, 2020

April 15, 2020

January 15, 2020 (draft)

October 16, 2019

July 17,2019

January 16, 2019

September 5, 2018

June 05, 2018

March 01, 2018

Previous meeting minutes may be available, email the Webmaster for more information.