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

 

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.

 

Wildfire Wednesdays 2020, Entire Preso Series

Wildfires happen. They can be devastating, incredibly disruptive, and life-altering. In October 2020, the Colorado State University Extension presented a four-part offering on wildfire and related topics. Following are links to each of the four presentations (YouTube). If you’re more comfortable viewing static files, you can download (as PDFs) copies of the slides from each of the presentations.

Wildfire Wednesdays Speaker Series
brought to you by Colorado State University Extension:
Mari Johnson, Natural Resource Agent, CSU Extension, Jefferson County, mcjohnso@jeffco.us
Sharon Bokan, CSU Extension, Boulder County, sbokan@bouldercounty.org
Karen Crumbaker, CSU Extension Larimer County, kcrumbaker@larimer.org

Wildfire Wednesday: Fire Ecology and Behavior   View on YouTube
Download the slides (PDF): WILDFIRE WEDNESDAYS #1_2020-10-07

Wildfire Wednesday: Defensible Space and Home Hardening  View on YouTube
Download the slides (PDF): WILDFIRE WEDNESDAYS #2_2020-10-14

Wildfire Wednesday: Fire Resistant Landscaping   View on YouTube
Download the slides (PDF) Part 1: WILDFIRE WEDNESDAYS #3_2020-10-21 part 1
Download the slides (PDF) Part 2: WILDFIRE WEDNESDAYS #3_2020-10-21 part 2

Wildfire Wednesday: Evacuation Preparedness and Animal Evacuation
View on YouTube
Download the slides (PDF): Wildfire Wednesdays #4 2020-10-28

Jeffco Expands the Slash Program, Summer 2015

From Bailey Becker, Jeffco Public Information Office, 4/03/2015:

SlashAs we enter into the spring and summer, it is time to start spring cleaning our properties and clearing out our slash, which includes tree limbs, tree tops and pine needles. Doing this is essential to keeping our homes safe and the forests healthy in Jeffco.

You will be able to bring your slash to one of many collections that Jefferson County is offering this year. The slash collection program is expected to run every weekend, except July 4 and 5, from May 30 and 31 until October 24 and 25. Sites are being confirmed and will be announced on the slash web page.

Continue reading “Jeffco Expands the Slash Program, Summer 2015”

Wildfire Community Preparedness Day Twitter Chat, 4/7

From: “Cathy Prudhomme” <CPrudhomme@nfpa.org>
Sent: Thursday, April 2, 2015 2:08:15 PM
Subject: Wildfire Community Preparedness Day Twitter Chat – Tuesday, April 7

Wildland Fire Stakeholders,

Participate in next week’s Wildfire Community Preparedness Day Twitter Chat Tuesday, April 7 at 2pm EDT.  Using the hashtag #WildfirePrepDay the sixty-minute format will focus on projects that can be coordinated for Wildfire Community Preparedness Day, Saturday, May 2 and America’s PrepareAthon Thursday, April 30.  The conversation will provide information on mitigation, communication and evacuation.

This is a great opportunity to learn more about Wildfire Preparedness Day and America’s PrepareAthon projects and the available resources and ideas. Special guest participants include:

  • U.S. Fire Administration:  Phyllis Krietz, Fire Program Specialist, United States Fire Administration
  • America’s PrepareAthon:  Allison Carlock, Individual and Community Preparedness Division, U.S. Department of Homeland Security/FEMA
  • U.S. Forest Service:  Pam Leschak, National WUI/FAC Program Manager
  • Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS):  Brent Henzi, Public Affairs Manager

Post these promotional tweets and get your stakeholders involved too:

  • Participate in the #WildfirePrepDay Twitter Chat – 4/7 at 2pm EDT and learn how you can accomplish something great!
  • Find your role in Wildfire Community Preparedness Day – People.Projects.Purpose. #WildfirePrepDay Twitter Chat 4/7 at 2PM EDT.
  • Learn how to make communities more wildfire resilient – #WildfirePrepDay Twitter Chat, 4/7 at 2pm EDT.
  • Be a local preparedness champion – plan a Wildfire Prep Day activity. Learn more in the #WildfirePrepDay Twitter Chat 4/7 at 2pm EDT.
  • Reduce your community’s wildfire risk with a PrepDay project.  Get mentored in the 4/7 #WildfirePrepDay Twitter Chat at 2pm EDT.

Demonstrate your commitment to wildfire preparedness by adding your May 2 activities to the nationwide project map.  It’s easy to do and illustrates the magnitude of grassroots risk reduction projects occurring throughout the U.S.

Cathy Prudhomme
Community Outreach Program Manager – NFPA’s Wildland Fire Operations Division
303-736-8461
6855 South Havana Street, Suite 180
Centennial, CO 80112

Wildfire Community Prep Day logo

 

C.A.R.E. Wildfire Mitigation & Grant-Writing Presentation

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Kitty Pring, grant-writer extraordinaire, will be sharing her wildfire mitigation and the grant application process experience with us in just one week –on Tuesday the 24th of March, 7PM, at the Mount Vernon Country Club, in the 2nd Floor Board Room.

I hope you can join us — Kitty’s preso is interesting and full of valuable information. RSVPs are appreciated (we want to make sure we have enough coffee, seats and handouts for everyone). Please RSVP to mapoolet@ix.netcom.com.

Warm regards,
Michelle Poolet, Board Chair
Doug Ford, Board Vice-Chair
Ken Custer, Board Secretary
Dick Bartlett, Board Treasurer