Grand Fire wildfire protection draft plan ready for public comment | SkyHiNews.com

Grand Fire wildfire protection draft plan ready for public comment

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News
Grand County, Colorado

Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi Daily News

Five communities in Grand Fire Protection District No. 1 have been singled out as having “extreme” to “very high” wildfire risk, according to a draft of the district’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan.

At highest risk, according to the new study, are Busse Hill and Winter Park Highlands for their steep topography, standing dead trees on rights of way, channeling winds, single access roads and lack of visible addresses.

The Homestead Hills, Carol Linke Tracts and Sunny Shore Park share high hazard ratings, according to the study.

The Plan rates these communities and 19 others, then makes specific recommendations to improve overall fire safety.

For example, two to three 10,000 to 30,000 gallon cisterns are recommended for the Winter Park Highlands to aid firefighters, as well as designation of an additional egress. Likewise, among recommendations for the Carol Linke Tracts is a 30,000 gallon cistern.

Draft or dry hydrants and fire truck access improvements were some suggestions made for other communities such as Sunset Point, Busse Hill and Trail Creek subdivision.

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Throughout the Grand Fire Protection District No. 1, stretching south of Grand Lake to just north of Tabernash covering 147 square miles, there are “missing or inadequate street signage and addressing,” the study points out.

“Proper reflective signage is a critical operational need,” the Plan continues. “The value of the time saved, especially at night and in difficult conditions, cannot be overestimated.”

Completed in March, the 157-page draft Community Wildfire Protection Plan prepared by Anchor Point Group of Boulder was compiled to enhance community fire safety and to promote protection of properties, infrastructure and environment.

The document assesses wildfire risk throughout the district. The study also makes suggestions for needed fire district training, programs and equipment.

“We’re in the process of making an annual work plan that is going to project 10 years out,” Boyes said. Within the year, Boyes hopes to assemble a “Wildfire Safety Council,” he said, one that includes community members, fire district representatives and HOA members to prioritize CWPP recommendations and to seek grant money for projects.

“A ton of stuff needs to be done,” Boyes said, “and it’s not going to happen overnight; it has to be a process. But you’ve got to start someplace.”

District officials have made the draft Plan available through the district’s Web site, http://www.grandfire.org. The Plan arms the district with data about the area’s fire potential and readiness on both private and public lands, as well as mentions threats to watersheds, wildlife and water district operations.

Such plans are being adopted throughout the state to not only position communities for state and federal wildfire funding, but also as a source of planning.

When this latest CWPP is formally completed, expected to be in about a month, Grand Fire will join Grand County, the Grand Lake Fire Protection District and The East Grand Fire Protection District as communities equipped with protection plans.

” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail tbina@skyhidailynews.com.

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