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Community Agriculture Alliance: Learning from 2020 to prepare for wildfire season

Carolina Manriquez
For Steamboat Pilot & Today

The 2020 wildfire season was another record breaker for Colorado. Routt County was surrounded by wildfires and was witness to incredible destruction in nearby Grand and Jackson counties. Fire is part of our environment, and we all are exposed to some risk no matter where we live. With a lower than average snow pack and the compounding effects of several years of drought on our soils and fuels, Colorado is gearing up for another active and long fire season, as we are, too, here in Routt County.

Wildfire mitigation begins with each one of us. To help our community understand the tools and resources available to reduce wildfire risk, the Routt County Wildfire Mitigation Council is hosting a virtual conference from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday and running every Thursday evening through May. The conference will have local and regional experts present on steps that we all can take — from the individual homeowner to our community stakeholders — to mitigate risks and be better prepared in the face of a wildfire. The conference corresponds with Wildfire Awareness Month and follows the schedule below:

Thursday: Kickoff – Learning from 2020 to Prepare for Wildfire Season



Through a moderated conversation, our panel of expert stakeholders will discuss lessons learned from the 2020 fire season and how they are getting ready for this season. Dan Gibbs, executive director of the Department of Natural Resources and the 2019 Wildfire Mitigation Conference keynote speaker, will provide us with a broader state level perspective and updates.

May 6: Home Ignition Zone & Ready, Set, Go – Being Prepared as an Individual Home or Ranch Owner



Wildfire mitigation starts with you as a landowner. This webinar will focus on what landowners can do to reduce wildfire risk around their property. Detailed information will be provided on the Home Ignition Zone/Defensible space concepts and how to get ready to evacuate in the event of a wildfire.

May 13: HOAs and Small Communities – Case Studies and Best Practices for Mitigation

No matter how prepared you are as a landowner, it is critical to address wildfire risks throughout your community. This webinar focuses on the concept of a fire adapted community (FAC) and what a community/HOA could do to reduce wildfire risk on a bigger scale. We will discuss the idea of a FAC and learn best practices from a local mitigation case study.

May 20: Community Lessons Learned – Preparedness and Recovery

Wildfire not only damages our homes but can impact critical community infrastructure and assets. This webinar will focus on wildfire preparedness and recovery across our entire community. Our presenters will address what can be done before a wildfire and the work that comes after, reflecting on last year’s fire season and some of those lessons learned.

This free event is an effort of the Routt County Wildfire Mitigation Council, with the generous support of the Steamboat Springs Board of Realtors, to promote public awareness and understanding of wildfire risk to foster community-driven action to reduce the risk and the impacts of wildfire in Routt County.

For more information and to register, please visit the council’s website RouttWildfire.org.

Carolina Manriquez is with the Colorado State Forest Service.


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