Smoke a reminder of fire danger in Grand County
September 13, 2009
The recent smoky haze from wildfires burning some 1,300 miles away struck close to home for many Grand County residents.
“A lot people were talking about it,” says Ron Cousineau, district forester for the Colorado State Forest Service’s Granby district.
Grand County continues to prepare for potential wildfire by creating defensible space and clearing evacuation routes. Grand County Natural Resources Foreman Jennifer Scott says homeowners are doing a great job of removing timber around their homes.
Though opening burning may cause a few smoky days during the winter, Scott explains, it’s removing material that might cause major smoke issues associated with a large wildland fire.
“The few times when we do experience smoke in the county from open burning, it’s not even close to the amount of smoke California is currently experiencing, or even the amount of smoke we saw last week due to the Station Fire.”
Cousineau encourages homeowners to contact their fire protection district to review their local Community Wildlife Protection Plan (CWPP).
Grand Lake, East Grand and Granby have completed CWPPs. A CWPP is underway for Hot Sulphur Springs and Parshall. Grand County also has an umbrella CWPP that can be viewed at http://www.co.grand.co.us.
Much of Grand County is in the “red needle stage.” As needles fall to the forest floor, there’s less danger of an intense tree crown fire. In 10 years, most of the trees will have fallen.
“Then we enter into a period with a potential for very intense, very difficult to control fires, which will last several decades,” says Cousineau. “That’s where we are heading. So the more work that gets done now, the better.”