Last meeting set to discuss Fraser Valley wildfire plan
Sky-Hi Daily News
The risk of potential wildfire at Winter Park Highlands is “extreme” and at Lakota, Mary Jane Resort and Winter Park Ranch it is “very high,” according to the findings in the latest draft of the Fraser Valley Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP).
The plan will be presented to the public tomorrow night, Thursday, at Winter Park Town Hall from 6 to 8 p.m.
The study, which encompasses all areas within the East Grand Fire Protection District (all land between the top of Berthoud Pass to the top of Red Dirt Hill), helps identify what communities and subdivisions are most at risk, and what can be done to minimize that risk. It also identifies ways to mitigate danger and fire outcomes to the environment and local watersheds.
The public is encouraged to attend tomorrow’s meeting to find out more information, and make suggestions or changes to the CWPP before the final draft is completed in the beginning of next year. Tomorrow’s meeting will be the final public meeting before the final draft of the CWPP is completed.
“I think (attending Thursday’s meeting) will give (the public) a good feel for what the fire danger is,” said Winter Park Town Engineer Chuck Swanson. “And they can ask specific questions ” like, ‘How does it affect me?'”
The CWPP will address how a wildfire could impact the community ” both physically and economically ” and it outlines an evacuation plan for when a wildfire starts.
Although most of the study is pretty technical, Swanson said, it addresses issues that affect residents. Property owners can also help by identifying historic infrastructure that may have been overlooked.
“It’s an opportunity for them to come in on the CWPP,” said Fire Chief Todd Holzwarth.
Plus, there’ll be cookies and coffee, Holzwarth added.
Once the CWPP is finalized, Anchor Point Group Fire Management, the company conducting the CWPP, will complete a pre-attack plan, which explains how residents and public entities should prepare for a wildfire. The towns and various community members will then engage in an annual work plan over the next couple of years, Swanson said, to prioritize, budget for and implement the items outlined in the CWPP.
The CWPP will also help towns go after federal funding to mitigate fire danger.
“By having a wildfire plan in place, it opens up the ability to do grant funding. A lot of (grants) are tied to having a CWPP in place,” Swanson said.
Some say the CWPP is long overdue. Although the East Grand Fire District averaged roughly three fires a year since 2002, Winter Park and the Fraser Valley were listed under the federal register as communities at high risk of a potential wildfire (http://www.forestsandrangelands.gov/resources/documents/351-358-en.pdf).
The Grand Lake Fire Protection District completed a CWPP last year, and was one of the first communities in the state to do so.
” To reach Stephanie Miller, call (970) 887-3334, ext. 19601 or e-mail email@example.com.
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