Wildfire mitigation assistance available


By Bill Trimarco | Wildfire Adapted Partnership

Wildfire Adapted Partnership (WAP) is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a Community Wildfire Defense Grant from the USDA Forest Service to further our efforts to protect lives and property from wildfire. 

This program, which was authorized by the bipartisan infrastructure law, prioritizes at-risk communities in areas identified as having high or very high wildfire hazard potential, are low income, or have been impacted by a severe disaster that affects the risk of wildfire and helps communities in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) implement the three goals of the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy. 

WAP, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, has been the primary source of wildfire education and mitigation assistance for private landowners in southwest Colorado for more than 20 years. This award will allow WAP to continue and expand its efforts in Archuleta County. 

Here are some of the programs available to property owners in Archuleta County.

• Neighborhood Ambassador Program: Residents volunteer to be the lens for their community, sharing wildfire information and helping to protect their community.

• Wildfire risk site assessments: Property owners can receive an assessment of their home and property which includes a scope of work with detailed recommendations to protect their property and life from wildfire.

• Cost-sharing programs: In most cases, WAP can offer partial reimbursements to offset the cost of performing wildfire mitigation to protect homes and forests. Assistance is available for both HOAs/communities and individual landowners.

• Chipper Rebate Program: Property owners can receive partial reimbursements for renting a chipper or hiring a contractor to chip the woody slash from their mitigation work.

• Community assessments: WAP can offer assistance with developing a community risk assessment that includes both short- and long-term action items. Many of the action items could qualify for cost-sharing programs.

Wildfire is the greatest natural threat in our county. Wildfire has been part of the landscape here for thousands of years. As long as trees, brush and grass are able to grow, we will always live with the risk of wildfires. We cannot predict when the next fire will occur; however, we do know how to protect lives, homes and property. 

To get help with planning and creating defensible space around your home and property, go to www.wildfireadapted.org and fill out your contact information for a free site visit under the Programs tab. If you have questions, please contact Bill Trimarco, Archuleta County coordinator, at (970) 398-0305.

For more information regarding the Community Wildfire Defense Grant program and link to the National Cohesive Wildland Fire Management Strategy, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/managing-land/fire/grants.