Community Agriculture Alliance: Routt County Wildfire Mitigation Council
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
This time last year, the Yampa Valley was full of smoke.
We had both the Muddy Slide Fire and the Morgan Creek Fire and were experiencing smoke from wildland fires in California and Oregon. This summer, we have been very lucky as a wet spring and July monsoons have kept the risk of wildfire low to moderate. Despite these lower risks, the Routt County Wildfire Mitigation Council (RCWMC) continues to support a resilient and fire adapted Yampa Valley through education, outreach, planning, and the support of on-the-ground mitigation work.
In late April, RCWMC hosted its fourth annual wildfire conference. During the two-day event, local and regional experts presented on the steps that individuals and community stakeholders can take to plan for and mitigate the risk of wildfire, as well as better prepare, in the event of a wildfire. If you were not able to attend the conference, there are recorded sessions available to watch or listen at http://www.routtwildfire.org.
In addition to the conference, members of the Values at Risk Committee have been presenting to neighborhood homeowner associations (HOAs) on coordinated wildfire mitigation efforts. Seasonal firefighters, with the city, are providing home assessments to help homeowners identify home ignition zone (HIZ) risks and steps to reduce those risks.
The committee is also planning several field trips late summer and early fall to highlight successful fuel reduction/mitigation projects. Individuals or HOAs can request a presentation or home assessment, by contacting the RCWMC on our website. Upcoming field trips will be posted on the events page. Those are great learning opportunities and open to all.
To support a broader wildfire risk evaluation and mitigation efforts, RCWMC is also working with the county in the update of the Routt County Community Wildfire Preparedness Plan (CWPP). A CWPP is a document that provides stakeholders and those living within Routt County with an overview of existing wildland fuel conditions, and identifies critical community infrastructure and priorities.
Based on community and stakeholder input, the CWPP will also provide recommendations for mitigation projects to reduce the impacts of wildfire in the community. The CWPP is planned for completion in summer 2023 and will require input from community members to better understand values at risk and to identify and prioritize wildfire mitigation projects. If you are interested in becoming involved in the CWPP, please contact the RCWMC on our website.
With all of these planned events and projects, the RCWMC is excited to hire a full-time executive director. The new director will lead the organization into the future and help Routt County and surrounding areas to continue the work of becoming a more fire resilient community. A full job description and posting is available on the council’s website. Please help us spread the word.
The RCWMC is working hard to create a resilient and fire-adapted community, but mitigation starts with all of us. We encourage you to visit our website for a full list of resources and information to help everyone from individual homeowners, neighborhoods and our community at large to reduce wildfire risk and prepare for a wildfire. It is not a matter of if, but when, and this coming fall could be a very busy time for wildfire in our area.
Sarah Jones, RCWMC Outreach Committee Chair and Steamboat Ski & Resort Corp Director of Sustainability and Community Engagement
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