FACO network members, the Spanish Peaks Alliance for Wildfire Protection (SPAWP) hosted a Summer Community Education and Training Program, including a community-wide meeting on August 27th, at the Cuchara Community Center in Cuchara Village. A packed house of concerned citizens and Firewise community leaders were present, along with a host of collaborating agencies who reported on their efforts and SPAWP milestones following the 2018 Spring Fire in Huerfano and Costilla Counties. Their final event this summer is the Sept.10: Fall Slash Pile event (partnering with USFS) 8am-2pm. Event Speakers included:
• US Forest Service, Destiny Chapman, Dennis Page
• Colorado State Forest Service, Paul Branson, Jared Fleming
• Natural Resource Conservation Service, Sammie Molinaro
• Spanish Peaks Alliance for Wildfire Protection, Craig Yenzer
• Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative, Carrie Adair, Margaret Strozyk
• La Veta FPD, Ron Jameson (Fire chief)
Thinning efforts, a recent mass blow-down event, a shaded fuel break demonstration plot and prescribed fire were among the ongoing efforts discussed. Addressing the audience, Dennis Page, US Forest Service FMO, told the group that “Wildland fire can happen in 1 of 2 ways. By chance, or by choice.” The Mile High Youth Corp., thinned 5.09 acres in July, removing 94 trees and creating 31 slash piles. The group returns for 3 weeks in September. The piles will be burned this winter, if and when conditions allow.