This week the Red, White and Blue Fire District announced that for the second year in a row it will not issue controlled burn permits between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The practice of not issuing controlled burn permits during the height of the summer began last year. The decision not to allow controlled burns in the district stems from two incidents in 2012 in which homeowners lost control of backyard burns. In both cases, the fires burned much of the two yards, placing neighbors at risk of a fire as well.
Red, White and Blue chief Jim Keating said changing weather conditions, namely abrupt changes in wind speed and direction, played a significant role in prohibiting controlled burns during the summer.
“We also want to reduce the number of smoke sighting calls,” Keating said in a news release. “Everyone has a heightened sense of awareness with the recent, devastating fires in Colorado.”
As an alternative to burning, the Red, White and Blue Fire District is encouraging homeowners to participate in this summer’s Summit County chipper program.
The countywide chipper program was created to help Summit residents clear wildfire fuels and create defensible space around their homes. The 16-week program features a chipper that will travel neighborhood-to-neighborhood to chip cut trees and branches at no cost to homeowners.
The chipper will serve Summit neighborhoods beginning June 30 through Oct. 17.
Acceptable items for the chipper include trimmed trees and branches up to 9 inches in diameter. Construction and treated lumber, shrubs, stumps, roots, dirt, rocks, grass clippings and trash are not acceptable for the chipper.
Piles must be stacked by 8 a.m. the Monday of each neighborhood’s designated chipping week. Piles must be stacked neatly with the big ends facing the street and at a distance no greater than 5 feet from the roadway.
Piles meant for chipping must measure 5 by 5 by 5 feet or smaller. There is no limit on the number of piles homeowners may stack in front of their homes, but keep trees and branches out of drainage ditches.
For more information about the chipping program and to see the neighborhood schedule, visit www.co.summit.co.us/chippingprogram.
The fire district will again allow burning after the Labor Day weekend, so long as the fire danger remains low or moderate.