Work to begin Tuesday on wildfire mitigation project in Basalt |

Work to begin Tuesday on wildfire mitigation project in Basalt

Staff report
Basalt Town Hall building.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times

The town of Basalt and partners will undertake a pilot wildfire mitigation project on a hillside above Town Hall beginning Tuesday and ending Friday.

“The project is intended as a demonstration project for wildfire mitigation and will help reduce the risk of wildfire along the steep hillside in downtown Basalt,” said a statement from the town government.

The hillside has been a concern of Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Chief Scott Thompson because it is overgrown, susceptible to fire from sources like an errant cigarette butt and close to homes. The hillside is above Midland Spur and Two Rivers Road.

The Rifle Correctional Facility will assist with the project by sending a team from its State Wildland Inmate Fire Team. The unit, known as SWIFT, is trained as a Firefighter Type-2 qualified hand crew that has specific training in wildlife mitigation. A SWIFT crew leader, Roaring Fork Fire and Rescue staff and Eagle County’s wildfire mitigation coordinator will be on site to guide the mitigation efforts.

The project was made possible, in part, by a donation from FirstBank. It contributed $50,000 for wildfire mitigation projects in Eagle County in recognition of the need and the firefighting effort undertaken during the Lake Christine Fire.

Roaring Fork Valley residents of Eagle County who want to learn more about implementing mitigation projects and cost-share opportunities should contact Roaring Fork Fire and Rescue or Eagle County for a free wildfire hazard assessment.