The Preparedness Corner - July, 2000

Hi neighbors.

I hope the rains come soon, my relatives in the Sedona area say that the monsoon season is just now starting. So it is heading our way. Fire season is here in Colorado and devastatingly early. I know that you have all looked at your own property and made sure that you are ready if wildfire comes your way, no matter where you live. Defensible space, a list of items to take, and a list of what to do and how to do it. All the stuff needed to prepare for, in case of an emergency. If not, why not? Not sure of what to do? Ask your neighbor who does or call me, I will be glad to answer any questions.

I recently found something to ponder. Fire is a natural rejuvenator, but since man has intervened with fire suppression and preservation, he has affected the health of our wildland. Right now, there are 20 times more trees than should be in a natural "no-man" forest. That means that the forest, our forest, is 20 times denser than is natural or healthy. This is why the United States Forest Service has controlled burns, why they recommend thinning and removing ladder fuels. Grasses that touch brush, which touches the lower limbs of trees, and trees that touch trees. Unfortunately, sometimes those fires get away from them and catastrophes like New Mexico occur. Fact: A forest fire in a dense cluttered wildland takes up to one hundred years to return to that condition.

Also fact: A healthy thinned forest that suffers a fire will (1) not burn completely and (2) recover much quicker, sometimes in one year. The moral of the story. I realize most of us, love the canopied tree feeling, but is that really the healthy and safe thing to do? Better to thin around the house becoming denser and denser the farther away you go, than to unnaturally preserve and burn completely.

See you all soon,

Paul