Community Agriculture Alliance: Wildfire risk and mitigation conference set for May 11 |

Community Agriculture Alliance: Wildfire risk and mitigation conference set for May 11

The deep snow and frigid temperatures of winter make it hard for us to think of the heat of summer — and the threat of wildfire — as around the corner, but they are. With the example of Paradise, California, fresh on our minds, we should all be asking ourselves, “How can I and my community be better prepared this coming fire season?”

There is an effort underway by a local multi-agency group to help Routt County residents to answer that question. The group will be hosting a free wildfire risk and mitigation conference at Colorado Mountain College from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 11.

Routt County and northwest Colorado were impacted by several large fires last fire season that threatened homes and property. The ominous smoke column of the Silver Creek Fire became a common backdrop in the county into October. Our neighbors in Moffat County had a record number of wildfires last season as well. Homes, outbuildings, miles of fencing and other values were lost to fire. Wildfire is part of our environment, and we all are exposed to some risk, no matter where we live in the county. This conference is intended to help us better understand those risks and the steps we can take to mitigate them.

The conference has three goals: to raise awareness and provide information on past and current wildfire mitigation efforts; to build upon and replicate success stories; and to learn about resources available in Routt County to reduce the risk of wildfire through mitigation. The conference aims to promote mitigation at different levels and scales, from the individual homeowner to HOAs, public and private, challenging us to think of our landscape as a whole. As the saying goes, “A dollar invested in mitigation saves many more dollars in firefighting.”

The conference is being organized through the cooperative efforts of the Colorado State Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Routt County Office of Emergency Management, Routt County Fire Protection Districts, the Colorado Department of Fire Prevention and Control, Yampa Valley Sustainability Council, Colorado State University Extension, Colorado Mountain College, Southern Rockies Fire Science Network, the Steamboat Board of Realtors and many others. The conference organizers are working to bring a range of experts and perspectives to share with the public. The morning general session will be followed by breakout sessions in the afternoon that will target more specific interests.

The event is free and lunch will be provided to the first 200 people that register. You can find the registration link at

Carolina Manriquez is a forester with the Colorado State Forest Service.

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