The Forest Health and Wildfire Mitigation (FHWM) committee has scheduled several mitigation projects for the fall of 2022 and volunteers are essential for the success of these efforts.
Forest Health and Wildfire Mitigation Committee 2022
*Call for Volunteers*
Water Tanks & Fire Hydrants Clean Up
Protecting the SFTR water system from fire damage is of paramount importance. For three weekends, the FHWM committee has planned mitigation projects to remove brush and other flammable material from around the water tanks. Fuel removal will be accomplished with hand tools and lunch will be served. Water hydrant and pump clearing will start when tanks have been completed, assuming we have sufficient volunteers.
- September 10th & 11th : Tank Three
- September 17th & 18th : Tank Two
- September 24th & 25th : Tank One
If you are able to help with meals or lunch set up, please contact Nancy Scott at 719.845-8660.
Blind Curves & Road Overgrowth Mitigation
There are numerous blind curves and heavy overgrowth on the roads. During a fire, this overgrowth creates a serious hazard for both residents and fire fighters. This fall, two miles of road each on Fishers Peak Parkway (from the dumpsters heading south) and on Oak Park will be mitigated. This type of large-scale project is best suited for heavy equipment; however, a few volunteers are needed to follow at a safe distance behind the forestry equipment to rake debris and chip as needed. Additionally, the FHWMC is requesting that residents submit sections of roads that they feel are in need of treatment for future consideration. Sending a photo of the area will help us prioritize and identify resources.
If you know of a section of road that needs attention please contact Jerry Peters.
Community Wildfire Protection Plan
The Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is the document that governs SFTR fire mitigation efforts. A current CWPP is also a requirement for continued inclusion in the national FireWise program. The five-year CWPP update is currently being completed by the Colorado State Forest Service. On September 14-15, 2022, state foresters will be assessing the structures on SFTR to determine their survivability and evaluating the fuel loading on the ranch to determine priority projects.
If you are interested in assisting with this endeavor, please contact Michelle Blake.
Residents do not need to be present for the assessment, but there are several things that residents can do prior to the CSFS visit to improve their structure’s survivability rating.
Within the Immediate Home Ignition Zone (0-5ft):
- Remove all vegetation and anything stored under decks and porches
- Ensure gutters are clean and free of debris
- Cover all vents in the eves with 1/8” metal screens
- Repair/replace windows screens and broken windows
- Move all flammable material materials (wood piles, vegetation etc.) away from outside walls
- Replace loose or missing shingles
- Place gravel around the home (instead of flammable vegetation).
Within the Intermediate Zone 5-30’ from the home:
- Clear vegetation from under large stationary propane tanks.
- Create fuel breaks with driveways, walkways/paths, patios, and decks
- Keep lawns and native grasses mowed to a height of 4”
- Remove ladder fuels (vegetation under trees) so a surface fire cannot reach the crowns. Prune trees up to 6-10ft from the ground; for shorter trees do not exceed 1/3 of the overall tree height.
- Ensure at least 18’ between tree crowns; increase spacing with the percentage of slope.
- Ensure tree canopies are at least 10’ away from the home
- Limit trees/shrubs to small, spaced clusters to break up the continuity of the vegetation
Within the Extended Zone 5-30’ from the home: 30-100’, out to 200’:
The goal is not to eliminate fire but to interrupt fire’s path and keep flames smaller and on the ground.
- Dispose of heavy accumulations of ground litter/debris
- Remove dead plant and tree material
- Remove small conifers growing between mature trees
- Remove vegetation adjacent to storage sheds or other outbuildings within this area
- Trees 30’ to 60’ from the home should have at least 12’ between canopy tops *
- Trees 60’ to 100’ from the home should have at least 6’ between the canopy tops *
For a complete list visit: NFPA - Preparing homes for wildfire
Part of being a recognized Firewise USA® site is reporting the ongoing work residents complete each year to reduce their wildfire risks, while addressing the areas identified in their CWPP. Participating sites must submit an annual renewal to maintain their “in good standing” status. By ensuring that SFTR remains a certified FireWise Community, ranch residents may receive discounts on their home insurance and our ranch may have an advantage if/when we apply for grants in the future. Furthermore, the program inspires ranch residents to be proactive in fire mitigation efforts and offers many learning and networking opportunities.
SFTR must show one volunteer hour of work ($27.20) per dwelling to maintain our status. So, if you have conducted any chain sawing, mowing, tree/brush removal, limbing, bull-hogging, landscaping (e.g. gravel around your home), relocating firewood piles 30’ away from the home, clearing vegetation from underneath porches, other home modifications (e.g. upgraded to a fire resistant roof or installed a chimney spark arrestor) or any other activity that helped to create a healthier forest and defensible zone around your home or common area, please complete the form (located on the FireWise page) and provide the information to Michelle Blake by October 31st.
Please see the attached document for additional information and also remember to check out our Santa Fe Trail Ranch calendar for specific details!