Letter: Get informed about wildfire awareness and preparation | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Get informed about wildfire awareness and preparation

I want to invite all area residents to an informational meeting on wildfire awareness and preparation Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Aspen Fire Station. This meeting, called “Ready, Set, Go!” will feature a keynote speaker as well as information on how to get a free wildfire assessment of your property, the best fire-resistant tree species to plant around your property, specific information for high-risk neighborhoods in Aspen and more.

In 2013, the Aspen City Council made the creation of a comprehensive wildfire-mitigation plan one of its top 10 goals, and we want the community to be as informed, prepared and proactive as possible. As we’ve seen in Colorado, 2012 was record-breaking for wildfire and associated damage, and the fires and destruction continued last year. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association estimates damage from the 2012 and 2013 wildfire seasons at more than $860.2 million in insurance losses in Colorado.

The city already has identified the high-risk neighborhoods that we plan to work more closely with, and we are working on water-system upgrades to better fight fires in those areas. The meeting Thursday is the beginning of a shared public-outreach campaign by the city, Pitkin County and the Aspen Fire Protection District. I hope you will attend Thursday and stay engaged this summer. We have been fortunate so far in Aspen to avoid a large wildfire event, but we must stay vigilant. And remember, while we’ve had a wet winter and spring, our city is an island in the midst of a vast national forest, and we must stay focused and prepared.

For more information, contact the Aspen Fire Protection District at 970-925-5532.

Steve Barwick

Aspen city manager

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