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Allenspark To Address Wildfire Protection June 24th


The community served by the Allenspark Fire Protection District is about to take a big step to protect itself from wildfire. Over the last year about twenty volunteer citizens have compiled a comprehensive set of recommendations and supportive reasoning, in a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP).
The plan, less its priorities, is available at http://cwpp.allenspark.info/.

On June 24, 7 p.m. at the main fire station meeting room, local property owners will be asked to report what actions in the plan are important and which land owners and neighborhoods want to take recommended action.

The CWPP committee decided last year that only those properties whose owners decide to take action will be recognized as community priorities. Over time as more people see the results and learn the benefits of wildfire protection, this free-will program is expected to grow in participation, effectiveness, and with new priorities.

Because the necessary job at hand is so immense (the fire district plan area is 31,000 acres with over 500 homes) setting priorities is necessary. The plan is intended to help members of the community recognize their fire risk, focus on something manageable and get started. Plan recommendations cover five major topics.

Fire protection actions include managing vegetation so that wildfire will burn less intensely and be safer to fight, creating fuel breaks and defensible space around homes, real time fire-weather and fire-prevention weather information, improving emergency access and egress, and locating and improving emergency water sources.

Authors of the plan along with wildfire protection experts from Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado State Forest Service, Larimer and Boulder County, Southern Rockies Conservation Alliance and USDA Forest Service will be on hand and located at stations around the meeting room. At these stations participants have a chance to get their personal questions answered and then make informed decisions about what to do.
In many cases, the first step for people to take, once they decide that they will take action, is to plan a specific project. In some cases this may involve whole neighborhoods.

Project design can be assisted with the information tools in the plan.

And a neighborhood approach is very beneficial and preferred because then, each individual owner’s action helps not only themselves, but their neighbors.

That kind of cooperation already exists in the form of Allenspark Beetle Control (ABC). Pine beetle suppression is recommended in the vegetation portion of the plan. Beetle control helps remove dangerous dead and dying timber (fuel) from the forest. The CWPP goes much further and presents a path toward responsible forest stewardship.

On June 24, following the breakout session when people can decide upon what is best for them, results will be recorded, participants will regroup, and some project proposals will be reviewed time permitting.

The CWPP committee will use meeting results later to help them complete the CWPP priorities section. The plan will then be presented to the approval authorities for signatures.

With plan approval the Allenspark area becomes eligible for grant assistance for priority projects (individual or neighborhood), and individuals may be eligible to receive tax benefits for their wildfire mitigation expenses.

Information about a grant application by FMI, will be presented at this June 24 meeting. FMI is a local forestry non-profit organization formed in the 1970s.

The pending community assistant grant to FMI from Rocky Mountain National Park will go toward priority project planning. That process may include professional assistance. Other grant-sources eligibility will later help with project completion.

It is very important that participants review the plan prior to the June 24 meeting. In addition to posting on the web, the CWPP committee is making available posters and draft plan copies at numerous locations around Allenspark for people without internet access.

Effective wildfire protection action must be done BEFORE a wildfire.

During a wildfire event, it is too late and in many cases one could make safety matters worse.
The Allenspark CWPP will lead people to appropriate, informed and timely decisions. For community wildfire protection, June 24 is a very important meeting.

© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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