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Free workshop to help property owners create defensible space and fire-wise landscaping to protect homes from wildfire
Dan Schroder, Director, Summit County CSU Extension: 970-668-4140
Katlin Miller, District Manager, Middle Park Conservation District: 970-724-3456
Matthew Schiltz, Forester, Colorado State Forest Service: 970-887-3121
SUMMIT COUNTY – Summit County CSU Extension, in partnership with Middle Park Conservation District and Colorado State Forest Service, is offering a free Defensible Space and Fire-Wise Landscaping Workshop from 9-11 a.m., Friday, Oct. 6, at the Summit County Community and Senior Center, 83 Nancy’s Place, Frisco.
Wildfire experts will teach attendees how to create defensible space – an area around a home where flammable vegetation is reduced to slow the spread of wildfire. Defensible space creates a safe zone for firefighters to work and reduces the chance of a structure fire moving to the surrounding forest and other homes. Attendees will also learn about resources available to support local residents' efforts to mitigate wildfire risk.
“Because our neighborhoods are surrounded by forests, we need to employ proactive management strategies to reduce the potential impacts of wildfire,” Summit County CSU Extension Director Dan Schroder said. “Creating defensible space around homes is a critical aspect of protecting our mountain communities.”
Wildfires are a natural part of Colorado’s forest ecosystems. More than 80 percent of forested lands within Summit County are dominated by lodgepole pine, a highly flammable species that relies on wildfire for regeneration.
“As residents of the wildland urban interface, the threat of wildfire is something we have to face head-on: Every home in Summit County should have defensible space,” said Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs, who chairs the Summit County Wildfire Council. “During fire season, we’re one lightning strike away from a catastrophic wildfire situation.”
This past summer, the Peak 2 and Tenderfoot 2 fires served as reminders that wildfire is a very real hazard in Summit County. It can also be extremely costly for individual property owners and communities at large, but wildfire prevention and mitigation efforts are cost-effective strategies to reduce our vulnerabilities.
Summit County's wildfire prevention programs have been in effect since 2005, when the Summit County Wildfire Council first convened. In 2006, the first Summit County Community Wildfire Prevention Plan was adopted. In 2008, Summit County voters opted to fund a countywide property tax to support wildfire prevention programs, which now include wildfire mitigation grants and the free Summit County Chipping Program.
To RSVP for the Defensible Space and Fire-Wise Landscaping Workshop, call 970-887-3121. For more info, visit www.summitcountyco.gov/DefensibleSpace, or contact the Colorado State University Extension office in Summit County at 970-668-4140.
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