With large fires causing evacuations and structure losses over the past few weeks in northwest Colorado and around the West, the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS)
wants to remind homeowners living in
the wildland-urban interface to prepare for wildfires before they arrive.
Wildfire Mitigation Standards
The current Wildfire Mitigation Standards – Exhibit B in the Douglas County Building Codes were adopted in October 2012.
The Douglas County Wildfire Mitigation Program’s primary mission is to reduce wildfire hazard and loss to residents, property, and natural resources by emphasizing courtesy forestry and wildfire hazard assessments for home and property owners within the County. If you have forestry, wildfire questions or would like to request a free Wildfire Hazard Assessment on personal property please contact contact Jill Welle, Wildfire Mitigation Specialist at 303-660-7497.
Wildfire Hazard Regulation for Building and Development
One way the Douglas County Wildfire Mitigation staff seeks to reduce Wildfire hazard is through the development review process and implementation of our adopted regulations stated in the Douglas County Zoning Resolution Section 17. This process ensures that all new development in Douglas County is carefully assessed for wildfire hazards by our Wildfire Mitigation Specialists. If staff identifies a significant wildfire hazard a Wildfire Mitigation or Forest Management Plan is required to be submitted by a professional forester, reviewed and approved by Douglas County staff and executed prior to the issuance of building permits within the development.
Another method of addressing wildfire hazard is on an individual lot or parcel basis. Each construction project permitted through the Building Division within the Wildfire Hazard Overlay District (Wildfire Hazard District Overlay Map) is subject to the adopted regulations. Similar to the development scale process, if staff determines a wildfire hazard exists, treatment is required in the form of Defensible Space prior to the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy. However, rather than the applicant consulting a professional forester, the Wildfire Mitigation staff provides the treatment prescription to be implemented.
Collaborative Partnership Projects
The Wildfire Mitigation staff is involved with several collaborative partnerships including the Front Range Fuels Roundtable and the Pikes Peak Wildfire Prevention Partners (PPWPP), NGOs such as the Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP) and communities to assist with mitigation projects and program outreach on hazardous fuels reduction projects in Douglas County with funds acquired from American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
Natural Resources and Forest Management
The Douglas County Wildfire Mitigation Staff plans, prepares, and implements forest management and natural resources stewardship projects on county-owned open space lands. In the last decade a significant amount of Colorado’s forests have been lost or damaged due to insects, disease, and high intensity wildfires. Forest management and vegetation treatments are designed to increase forest health and reduce fuel loading to prevent infestation and/or loss of our county-owned forests from these disturbance agents. A healthy forest offers habitat and forage to wildlife as well as recreation and wildlife viewing opportunities to its public users. Prescribed fire is also used to re-introduce low-intensity wildfire and its ecological benefits to historically fire-adapted ecosystems. Projects are based on goals and objectives backed by sound science and endorsed by practitioners and natural resources managers throughout the Front Range of Colorado.