Summit County wraps up first community chipping program
Summit County officials announced final tallies Thursday for the 2014 Community Chipping Program, which helped residents and property owners create defensible space around their homes during the past four months.
In total, 1,810 households participated in the program, funded through the Summit County Wildfire Council, and they put out 5,434 slash piles for crews to chip and haul away.
The wood chips generated from slash collected in the Upper Blue and Tenmile basins, totaling 747 tons (about 70,000 cubic yards), were sent to the biomass energy plant in Gypsum to generate electricity. Chips from the Lower Blue and Snake River basins will be sent to the plant in the next few weeks.
“This program was successful beyond our wildest expectations,” said County Commissioner Dan Gibbs, who chairs the Wildfire Council. “Summit County residents and property owners really rallied to the cause of wildfire protection in a huge way this year.”
The program was supported in part by a $62,500 grant from the Colorado Division of Natural Resources. Summit County matched the state grant with direct funding and in-kind contributions. The state recently announced another grant award of $100,000, which will support the continuation of the chipping program in 2015.
“The widespread participation in this year’s chipping program was a major factor in our ability to secure another round of funding for next year,” said Summit County CSU Extension Director Dan Schroder, who administered the program. “Research shows that clearing these woody fuels from around our homes is incredibly impactful in saving property and lives in the event that a wildfire does occur.”
For more information about wildfire preparedness and the Summit County Chipping Program, visit co.summit.co.us/chippingprogram or contact the Colorado State University Extension office in Summit County at 970-668-4140.
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