Reduce acres at risk
Defensible space programs
Creating defensible space in Jefferson County is primarily the responsibility of the homeowner. Education efforts focus on encouraging homeowners to take action. While both Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and Colorado State Forestry both have cost-share programs, resources are limited. To encourage the reduction of hazardous fuels, the Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) does some of its own defensible space work. These programs are funded through Colorado State Forestry and are coordinated by the Wildfire Mitigation Specialist, Rocco Snart. OEM received $50,000 from Colorado State Forestry in 2002 for defensible space programs. With this money Snart assessed 100 homes and 31 homeowners completed projects for reimbursement. OEM received $75,000 in defensible space money from CSFS in 2003. This money will support the treatment of 75-100 homes. .
The Colorado State Forest Service's Golden District also coordinates a defensible space program. Two programs are available---one available to counties, communities or neighborhood associations and another available to individual homeowners. Golden District has 8-13 employees in the office depending on the season. Golden District is unique because it has a larger number of employees and it is also self-funds a number of these positions-meaning CSFS generates income to support its own positions. In practice, this means that CSFS charges individual homeowners for defensible space assessments and other services. CSFS charges $75 for the first hour of work and $26 per hour for any additional hours. A typical defensible space marking takes two hours and costs $101. Half of this fee can be reimbursed through the cost-share program. In 2001 CSFS assessed a total of 341 defensible spaces. In 2002 CSFS did 143 assessments and 60 in 2003. In 2002 they created 21 defensible spaces through their cost share program and 29 in 2003. CSFS has had trouble finding homeowners to take advantage of its cost share program. $4,500 of FY03 money remains in CSFS coffers unspent due to limited demand from homeowners.
Fuels Reduction Programs
To encourage the reduction of hazardous fuels, the Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) does some of its own shaded fuel breaks and other fuel management projects on a cost-share basis, as well as engages in planning activities. In 2003, OEM received $50,000 from Colorado State Forestry's Western State Competitive Grant funds to create shaded fuel breaks.
In Jefferson County, CSFS has three major mitigation programs. First, CSFS applies for and receives grant money to implement projects with landowners who will make a cash or in-kind match. For instance, CSFS works in partnership with the Division of Wildlife, Denver Mountain Parks, Colorado State Parks, Jefferson County Open Space and the Denver Water Board in various capacities to do fuel treatment. Second, CSFS funds other organizations, like Jefferson County Office of Emergency Management, to do work. For instance, CSFS provides money to Jefferson County to do fuel breaks, defensible space and their slash collection program. In Jefferson County CSFS mechanically treated 350 acres in 2001, 90 in 2002 and 17 in 2003. They prescribed burned 392 acres in 2002 and 195 in 2003.
Jefferson County Open Space has a separate fuels reduction program on the 50,000 acres of land they manage. They do both mechanical fuel reduction and prescribed burning. They broadcast burn about 150-200 acres per year, burn about 300-400 slash piles per year, and thin approximately 100-150 acres per year. In ponderosa pine they use a prescription that mimics mature to old-growth forest. Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) helped them write and implement prescribe fire plans and they have a contract agreement with CSFS to develop and implement the broadcast burn program. They use CSFS's Creating Defensible Space Guidelines for their fuel breaks. Open Space generally does not prioritize their treatment areas. They tend to complete work in one park before opening it totally to the public and then move onto another park. CSFS also works with them on cross-boundary activities that involve private lands or other agency lands.
There are 282,226 acres within Pike National Forest that need hazard fuels treatment. The USDA Forest Service currently has in operation three projects within Jefferson County for hazard fuels reduction. They are the 1,066 acre Spring Creek mastication project, the 455 acre Dell mastication project, and 326 acre Kelsey mastication project. During 2002 in the South Platte Ranger District, was able to treat 915 acres within Douglas County.
In September-October 2001 the USFS completed the 8,000-acre Polhemus Prescribed Burn. This prescribed burn is credited with slowing down the north east finger of the Hayman Fire. Prescribed fire has been easier since the Polhemus Burn. The USDA Forest Service is working with the State Air Pollution Control Division to assist with smoke management.
Front Range Fuels Treatment Partnership
USFS Regional Forester Rick Cables and State Forester Jim Hubbard identified the need for a concentrated effort to address the wildland-urban interface problems along the Front Range of Colorado. This 10-year $225 million effort began in 2003. The USFS now has discretionary money for the Pike and Arapahoe National Forests to do fuels mitigation work on USFS lands in close proximity to communities identified as high risk. Colorado State Forest Service is completing a hazard fuels analysis on the private lands adjacent to the National Forest. The results of this analysis will be used to comment on the Forest Service proposed action. USFS officials estimate they need $26.1 million for FY 2003 and $30.6 million in FY2004 for the Front Range Fuels Treatment Partnership. They have secured $16.2 million for FY 2003 and $18.7 million in FY 2004. The Forest Services Rocky Mountain Region shifted $5 million to the Pike, Arapahoe and Roosevelt National Forests also to address this priority.
CSFS will provide funds for fuel mitigation work on private and state lands through the Front Range Fuels Treatment Partnership. They will prioritize treatment by homeowners associations that have the greatest interest and demonstrate the greatest activity. CSFS received an increase of $3 million in Federal State and Private Forestry funding for the Front Range Fuels Treatment Partnership in FY2003. The strategy for implementing the Front Range Fuels Partnership involves focusing state time and expertise on building partnerships that facilitate landscape-scale, cross-boundary fuels treatment and that provide significant protection to both people and natural resources according to State Forester Jim Hubbard. Partners in the project include USFS, BLM, NPS, and CSFS. Issues that the partners need to address include smoke management, long term stewardship contracting, biomass utilization and funding.
| New Mexico | |
Copyright©2003 Toddi A. Steelman and North Carolina State University