CSFD crews work on fire mitigation in Ute Valley Park

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COLORADO SPRINGS — Colorado Springs Fire Department and City Forestry are working on a fire mitigation project on 14.5 acres of Ute Valley Park.

Colorado Springs Parks said minimal impact is expected for public areas, intermittent, isolated trail closures are possible.

This section is the last piece of the $1 million grant that the city of Colorado Springs got from FEMA.

“We like to think that’s the taxpayers getting money back,” CSFD Fire Marshall, Brett Lacey.

The goal is to reduce wildfire risk in Ute Valley Park and surrounding neighborhoods.

Crews are working to get rid of fuels for a possible fire by limbing, thinning stand density, modification/chipping of any dead and down woody debris, and the removal of live, dead, and diseased standing vegetation within Ute Valley Park.

FOX21’s Carly Moore went along to get a look at the process.

“100’s of years ago fires would start by lighting and such and would burn through these areas and a lot of the keep duff and litter cleaned up. so you had a lot more sparse forested area, which is how it should normally be. As time went on though we started inhabiting the area, and started extinguishing all the fires that were occurring because we felt that was a risk to us,” said CSFD Fire Marshall, Brett Lacey. “In doing so, we allowed dense and overgrown vegetation to take place. So what we are trying to do now is get nature back in balance.”

Where there is excessive overgrowth or diseased vegetation, crews will mark those trees and vegetation then limb up trees, and cut down the oak bushes, so that a ground fire does not spread up into the canopy. Once a fire gets into the canopy it becomes unmanageable.

With the project nearly complete, our community protected is priceless.

“We need to understand fire is part of the natural environment, but we want it to be managed in a way, so that we can accommodate fire to come through, without burning homes, killing people, and destroying all the businesses that support us,” Lacey said.

Mitigation is expected continue for another week or so.

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