What you can do about fire danger | SummitDaily.com

What you can do about fire danger

Almost one year ago, Gov. Bill Owens announced to the world that Colorado was “burning.” Fortunately, that was not true – not that it could not have been. The potential was there, and I would imagine from where the governor was sitting, it seemed to be true.

The potential was there – and the potential is still there.

Imagine the helpless feeling you would have standing in your driveway as your home and all your possessions are going up in flames because the forest around your house is burning.

We are having some very nice, wet snowfalls and cloudy days. Both help a lot in preventing the ultimate wildfire in Summit County. Let’s hope it continues and the governor’s statement never becomes reality.

The weather makes a difference, but so can each individual in Summit County. I will show you how.

First of all, you need to become educated. Everyone needs to know what is being done in Summit County and Colorado to prevent a fire holocaust.

On Wednesday, May 28, at 7 p.m., the Blue River Group of the Sierra Club is hosting a Fire Mitigation and Forest Management panel discussion.

Confirmed speakers represent the Summit County Fire Mitigation Program, Colorado state Forest Service and staff from Rep. Mark Udall’s office. The White River National Forest and staff from Rep. Scott McInnis’ office have been invited, also.

This panel discussion will follow the same format as the highly successful magnesium chloride-road sand discussion recently. We are still getting many positive comments from that event.

The fire mitigation discussion will give you the opportunity to see what programs are in place and what is being proposed for the future.

Summit County has operated a model fire mitigation program since the late 1980s. The county has required all new construction to meet minimum requirements for defensible space around any residence. We also require new construction and renovations to meet the same standards. This program has been very successful and has been used as a model throughout the United States.

I have been interviewed on National Public Radio on the subject as well as being in a feature article in a Montana newspaper.

Two of our Colorado U.S. representatives have proposed legislation on how to manage the forests to prevent any more catastrophic fires. We will get a chance to hear about both at the forum. I hope you will leave with enough information to make an informed decision about what you would like to see happen in the future.

This is such a hot topic that both Denver daily newspapers have featured the subject almost every Sunday for the past few months.

And, after you decide what plan you like, you can go out and get some practical experience.

The Sierra Club and the Summit County Fire Mitigation Project are sponsoring a June 7 Community Protection Workday. The day will start at the Lake Dillon fire station in Frisco to get some hands on training on clearing trees and brush. This training will be followed by a trip up to the Ptarmigan subdivision near Silverthorne to help create some defensible space around some homes in the area. This should end around 1 p.m., followed by a lunch at a local park.

I would recommend that anyone who can gets involved in this hands-on experience. Everyone who goes through this project could go back home and organize the neighbors to clear trees and brush to prevent the spread of fire.

This is another example of giving that I wrote about last week. Time to learn about the problem and proposed solutions. Time to learn how to use tools safely to do the clearing and time to work on a real project so you can go back and prepare your own home and then show your neighbors what to do. It just goes on and on until everyone is doing it, and all of the space around our homes is clear of materials that could catch fire.

This whole fire thing is much like the drought. We hope beyond hope the drought is over and we will not have any fires this year. But, all hope aside, we have to be prepared for the worst.

County Commissioner Gary Lindstrom writes a regular Thursday column for the Summit Daily News.

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