In August of 2020, federal, state, and local governments joined with non-profit entities in Boulder County to establish the Boulder County Fireshed as a shared vision for reducing the risk of wildfire to its people, communities, recreation areas, and natural resources through closely coordinated forest management across all lands.
With the signing of the agreement (boco.org/ForestMOU), the USDA Forest Service and Boulder County have identified a shared vision for the future of Boulder County forest and wildfire mitigation management together with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado State Forest Service, the City of Longmont, the City of Boulder, the communities of Nederland, Gold Hill, and Lyons, the Boulder County Firefighters Association, the Longmont Conservation District, the Boulder Valley Conservation District, and Colorado Forest Restoration Institute at Colorado State University.
- Engage stakeholders located in the forest and DOWNSTREAM in meaningful and ongoing ways;
- Establish a regional network of resilient forests better able to absorb and recover from current and future natural disturbances;
- Collaboratively develop and support both wildland and prescribed fire management strategies so that wildfires are safely and effectively extinguished when and where needed and, in the right circumstances, more flexibly managed to reduce future risks;
- Foster resilient forest ecosystems that support water quality and quantity needs, habitat for robust and healthy flora and fauna, and abundant recreation opportunities;
- Actively manage the forest to enhance its health and reduce wildfire risk based on the best available data and contemporary science, including the use of climate science to understand how a changing climate will impact forests; and,
- Promote the personal responsibility of residents who live in high-risk areas to plan and prepare for wildfire.
- A key part of this effort calls for local non-profit collaborative groups to assist with its implementation. The Watershed Center, the St. Vrain Forest Health Partnership, and the Boulder Watershed Collective are ramping up their efforts with the public, scientists, and the MOU signatories to refine the shared vision going forward and identify mutual priority actions that meet the vision and goals of the agreement.