Durango Telegraph - Building a buffer: Numerous thinning projects completed
Building a buffer: Numerous thinning projects completed

Building a buffer: Numerous thinning projects completed

Big steps have been taken to keep fire in the forest and out of local communities. Federal, state and local governments and private citizens have been working jointly to mitigate threats in recent years.

San Juan Fire Mitigation Specialist Craig Goodell explained that a variety of thinning projects have been completed in recent years to protect communities, firefighters and local ecosystems. “Wildfires don’t respect property boundaries so it takes collaborative efforts across multiple jurisdictions and ownerships to effectively mitigate wildfire hazards,” he said.

The BLM and Colorado Division of Wildlife jointly manage 13,442 acres in the Perins Peak area. The two joined forces last year to create fuel breaks and improve wildlife habitat west of Durango. Next door in Twin Buttes, the City of Durango and the developer are working to mitigate threats. And other subdivisions near Durango are following suit. Durango Ridge Ranch residents have completed 900 hours of defensible space projects, and nearby Durango West 1 and 2 subdivisions have developed Community Wildfire Protection Plans.

The USFS and BLM have also reduced fuels on public lands in Hidden Valley, Junction Creek, Deep Creek, Falls Creek and Tripp Gulch. In addition, the Animas Mountain thinning project is nearing an end. All of the hydromowing is complete on the popular recreation area and only light hand-thinning remains.

“Cumulatively, the efforts are beginning to link together an important buffer of protection against destructive wildfires around Durango,” Goodell said.

– Will Sands

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