Kathie M. Kralik: Peak 7 Forest Health Plan a positive!
November 14, 2009
Thank you to the U.S. & Colorado State Forest Service for taking a proactive stance to create a buffer zone of defensible space around the Peak 7 residential area on Forest Service land. I commend the project and appreciate that our safety and welfare of our families and our homes, and the safety of our fire fighters taking priority over a few who don’t want to see trees being cut out their windows. (They may even notice that we have better views of the beautiful mountains once our dying and dead trees are removed!)As a Peak 7 homeowner since 1988, I have been involved with the planning and implementation of educating residents on the need for creating defensible space around our homes. I have heard all of the reasons against mitigation some homeowners try using to justify for not cutting trees. I came to the conclusion that education is not enough and we need the forest health experts to take an aggressive approach to our dead and dying forest for the safety of our lives, homes and to begin new growth for a healthy forest.Peak 7 is a designated “high” red zone risk area, and having a fire hydrant in front of your home and expecting your tax dollars paid to the fire department to be enough to save your home is nonsense. To be content with thinking that insurance will cover a home when, not if, a wildfire occurs in our area is also irresponsible. Peak 7 is located in unincorporated county with no mandates or HOAs to enforce defensible space on private property. Creating defensible space around our homes is not enough protection unless everyone does it, and without mandates this will never happen. This is even more reason a buffer zone on Forest Service land is important to protect our neighborhood. When a wildfire hits our area we will be glad our Forest Service took a proactive approach and our fire department will be focused on evacuating people. The change to our forests is hard for all of us to swallow, but understanding that we need to help our dead and dying forest to rejuvenate by getting more sunshine and allowing new growth of a diversified forest with beautiful wildflowers by creating a buffer zone will happen in just a couple of years. Just take a look at the clear-cuts along the bike path in Frisco. Already the aspen and wildflowers are thriving in a short period of time. Our mono-forest with 90 percent lodgepole pine was an unhealthy forest way before the pine beetle arrived due to the overgrowth. We now have the opportunity, funding and forest service support to create a healthy and safe forest. I know I’m tired of worrying about a major wildfire, and dead trees falling over while I’m hiking, and I’m tired of looking at dead red pines – let’s move forward. We have the responsibility and means to take care of our forests.Please don’t let the squeaky wheel get the grease, and continue to do the right thing for the safety of our families and homes. Lets start moving towards a healthy forest to be enjoyed for years to come. I suspect the same people against this project would be the same people trying to sue our fire departments for not saving their homes when the wildfire strikes!