Are you at risk for wildfire? Here in SW Colorado, we are all at risk. According to the Colorado State Forest Service, more than two million Coloradans live in the so called “wildland-urban interface (WUI)”, which is any area where man-made improvements are built close to, or within, natural terrain and flammable vegetation. “More than 90% of the residents of La Plata and Archuleta counties live within the WUI,” said Ashley Downing, Executive Director for Wildlife Adapted Partnership (WAP) in Durango. “As new structures are built here every year, it becomes increasingly necessary to engage homeowners in the importance of mitigating their wildfire risk. This is crucial for resident and emergency-responder safety, and for general forest health.”
Since 2013, WAP and LPEA have collaborated to make funding possible for their Chipper Rental Rebate Program. The WAP (formerly FireWise of Southwest Colorado) program encourages residents to chip the slash they produce when cutting flammable vegetation on their property. WAP reimburses homeowners 50% of their chipper use expenses, up to $250 per household. HOAs or communities that rent chippers or hire contractors to provide chipping services may also qualify for a 50% rebate of up to $750.
The Chipper Rental Rebate Program serves homeowners and community associations and indirectly benefits neighbors who choose not to participate by lowering their overall wildfire risk as well. The program encourages residents to proactively treat their properties for wildfire risk and reduce the buildup of hazardous fuels. In 2018, 73 families/property owners participated in the program.
For more information, visit https://www.wildfireadapted.org/
In addition to funding fire mitigation organizations and programs, LPEA actively works to prevent fires in our service territory through specialized equipment installation and vegetation management. But you can help us help you. If you’ve got an outage, go outside and survey your property, as well as your neighbors’, for downed power lines, smoke, or a visible fire. If your notice any indication of fire, call 911 immediately – then call LPEA at 970-247-5786. And remember to stay away from ALL downed powerlines.