Talk ‘fire’ in Grand Lake June 16 |

Talk ‘fire’ in Grand Lake June 16

Tonya Bina
Grand Lake, CO Colorado

GRAND LAKE – A community meeting about fire protection is set to take place in Grand Lake next weekend.

Focusing on the update of the Grand Lake Fire Protection District’s Community Wildfire Protection Plan, the meeting will also serve to educate homeowners about the “Ready, Set, Go!” program – a wealth of information about how homeowners can help themselves in preparation for a large fire, or simply “to live here and be prepared for fire so it doesn’t impact safety and property,” said Paul Mintier, former U.S. Forest Service fire management officer who has been contracted by Grand Lake Fire to update its plan.

It’s been six years since the Grand Lake Fire Protection District adopted its Community Wildfire Protection Plan, a document that serves to help prepare a community for a major wildfire.

Since then, the Grand Lake area has changed. Residents of subdivisions rallied to cut down trees, public agencies have taken out trees, and the beetles themselves have literally eaten themselves out of house and home.

Grand Lake Fire Chief Mike Long estimates as much as three-fourths of the projects identified in the district’s original Plan have been completed, and the priorities of others have shifted.

So, Grand Lake Fire has been updating its plan with the help of the public since January, with a roll-out of the new plan planned for 1 p.m. on June 16 at the Grand Lake Community House.

The new plan will serve to recognize what is left as a high priority in the district, such as areas that are still fuels-heavy, as well as mapping improvements, evacuation routes, sites that need special protection, and coordination of all of this information so that fire teams descending on Grand Lake during a large fire would all be on the same page.

According to Mintier, the updated plan is 25 pages long and “easy to digest.”

“Actually, my goal was not to turn it into something so thick no one would really want to look at it,” he said.

Grand Lake Fire Chief Mike Long plans to present information about fire district readiness and resources during the upcoming meeting.

Community members also will have the opportunity to learn about how all partnering agencies in Grand County – such as the Colorado State Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service, Rocky Mountain National Park, the Bureau of Land Management, the Grand County Department of Natural Resources, the Town of Grand Lake, the Grand County Office of Emergency Management, and the Grand County Sheriff’s Office – have been coordinating evacuation plans, mapping and response systems since about the onset of the pine beetle epidemic several years ago.

Representatives of those agencies will be present at the June 16 meeting to inform citizens and answer questions, according to Mintier.

The meeting is expected to cover “how we’re going to make an evacuation happen so that residents can get out in an orderly fashion and be properly informed,” Mintier said.