Spring wildfire mitigation begins in Aspen and Snowmass | AspenTimes.com

Spring wildfire mitigation begins in Aspen and Snowmass

Staff report

The Aspen Fire Protection District, Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District, Pitkin County and local neighborhoods will tackle some of the highest-priority wildfire-mitigation areas of their districts this spring. Overgrown brush, dead trees and other wildfire fuels will be removed on public right of ways in three areas targeted as vulnerable to wildland fire: Snowmass Village, Red Mountain and Brush Creek Village. Mitigation is planned this spring while the ground is moist and weather is mild and in advance of the drier wildfire season in summer to fall.

Mitigation work begins this week in Snowmass Village at the intersection of Meadow and Oak Ridge Roads. Rifle-based State Wildland Fire crews will work alongside Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District personnel to clear fire-prone brush and debris.

“Spring is a great time to do a wildfire mitigation around personal property, as well,” said Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District Fire Marshall John Mele and Aspen Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Parker Lathrop. “What we’re doing to improve access and egress for our fire trucks is a small part of a much bigger job of fire mitigation that property owners need to undertake themselves. We encourage everyone to get a property wildfire inspection to help them prepare.”

Beginning in early May, the crews will work with Aspen Fire and Pitkin County Road and Bridge to thin fuels and standing dead cottonwood adjacent to the Pitkin County right of way on Red Mountain Road.

“This work will improve emergency access and evacuation routes on Red Mountain Road in the event of wildfire there,” Lathrop said. “Since there is only one way up and one way down Red Mountain, fire mitigation up there is critical.”

The mitigation effort will then move to Brush Creek Village, where the crews will work with the Aspen Fire Protection District and Pitkin County Road and Bridge to tackle emergency access and evacuation routes there.

“Our common focus is on identifying, prioritizing and implementing mitigation projects to protect lives and communities from wildfire. This proactive community effort highlights the mission of the newlyformed Pitkin County Wildfire Council,” said Pitkin County Wildfire Mitigation Specialist Darryl Grob.

Snowmass Village residents can call 970-923-2212 to schedule a free wildfire inspection. In Aspen, residents can call the Aspen Fire Protection District Wildfire Mitigation hotline at 970-315-2301 with questions or to schedule an inspection.

For information or questions regarding wildland fire in Pitkin County contact Grob at 970-379-1377 or darryl.grob@pitkinsheriff.com. For more information, visit http://www.pitkin county.com/wildfiremitigation.


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