Life in the high country includes preparations for the threat of wildfires. Summit Fire & EMS maintains a robust program to assist businesses, property owners and visitors to prepare for wildfire. All Summit Fire & EMS firefighters are wildland certified and routinely deploy to assist in fighting wildfires nationwide to help others and hone their wildland skills to ensure readiness should Summit County be threatened by fire.
Lessons from Waldo Canyon
Among the key findings in the Lessons from Waldo Canyon report produced by the Fire Adapted Communities Coalition are:
- Creating and maintaining effective defensible space around homes and businesses, and using ignition-resistant construction techniques are critical to reducing a building's risk of igniting.
- A community-wide approach to wildfire preparedness that includes all stakeholders substantially improves the chances of successful mitigation efforts. The Colorado Springs Mitigation Section is a good example of this approach. Their actions reduced the number of homes destroyed or damaged during the Waldo Canyon Fire.
- Using fuels management tools to reduce flammable vegetation found around neighborhoods and in more remote areas is an effective way to reduce the spread of a wildfire.
See the accompanying video on YouTube.
Ready, Set, Go!
Summit Fire is teaming up with the national Ready, Set, Go! program to encourage citizen preparation for the possibility of a catastrophic wildfire.
View the Ready, Set, Go! protection plan (PDF).
Wildfire Protection Plan
Officials from Summit County, local fire districts, state and federal forest agencies, towns and others joined forces to develop the community's wildfire protection plan. This national model for wildfire protection planning is an extension of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act authorized by Congress in 2003. Since the plan's inception, the Wildfire Council and staff have continually reviewed and refined the SCCWPP to meet the community's changing needs concerning wildfire protection. The close collaboration between the county, the fire protection districts, the Colorado State Forest, the U.S. Forest Service and the towns makes this an extremely effective program.
Wildfire Protection Grant Program
Since 2006, the Board of County Commissioners, through the Summit County Wildfire Council, has provided matching grants to eligible homeowner groups to conduct hazardous fuels reduction projects. The next Hazardous Fuels Reduction Grant application period will be from April 1 to 30, 2013. For more information, call 970-668-4140.
Wildfire Mitigation Office
- The Wildfire Mitigation Office provides site-specific wildfire threat assessments, issues controlled burn permits and ensures construction projects in Summit adhere to applicable County wildfire regulations.
Summit Fire Wildfire-Preparation Assistance
- Summit Fire & EMS wildfire specialists are available to property owners, businesses and organizations for site-specific wildfire consultations. Summit Fire personnel can provide insights regarding site-specific preparations, instructions on how to prepare a property to facilitate wildfire defense and can assist groups, businesses and families to develop evacuation procedures. For consultations or assessment assistance, please contact email PIO.
- Summit Fire personnel also routinely engage in county-wide pre-planning activities to remain knowledgeable and vigilant about developments that affect the ability of firefighters to operate and gain access in advance of a wildfire threat. Additionally, Summit Fire specialists are available for free presentations and discussions with homeowners' associations, civic groups, business organizations and schools about preparing ourselves, our families and our homes for the event of a wildfire.