COLORADO SPRINGS — People who live around Ute Valley Park in Colorado Springs took the first steps to protecting their homes from wildfires.
On the west side of Colorado Springs, the wildland urban interface runs all the way from Air Force Academy to Cheyenne Mountain State Park. It’s a heightened wildfire risk area. People who live in Pine Cliffs like Christine Thomas are painfully aware of the importance of fire mitigation as we head into the 10th anniversary of the Waldo Canyon Fire.
“The reality is that it’s not really a fire season anymore, it’s a fire year. We have to worry about wildfires 12 months out of the year now,” Colorado Springs Firefighter Ashley Whitworth said. “We try to clump out the vegetation, get spacing between it, if there’s anything that’s dead, dying or diseased we want to take that out, and then we want to let the nice mature trees grow. We will do the hard part, drag that material to the chipper.”
There has been a lot of interest to move to the area.
“I think there’s a lot of people who have moved here who may not remember the fear and the shock that brought into the community and a lot of them may not realize how delicate it is,” Volunteer Christine Thomas said.
For the fire department, they only have a seasonal five person crew to handle the mitigation so volunteers are needed to make it possible.
“This is how you get stuff done,” Thomas added. “Volunteers that are caring enough about their neighborhood about their environment and keeping it safe.”