Decreasing Wildfire Risk - La Plata County Projects
The Colorado Strategic Wildfire Action Program (COSWAP) within the Department of Natural Resources was launched by the Polis administration through the bipartisan SB21-258 to invest in targeted wildfire risk mitigation, prioritize and fund key mitigation projects. COSWAP is designed to quickly move $17.5 million state stimulus dollars to start on-the-ground work on fuels reduction projects and increase Colorado's capacity to conduct critical forest restoration and wildfire mitigation work that will increase community resilience and protect life, property and infrastructure.
COSWAP is providing workforce funding La Plata County by paying a State Wildland Inmate Fire Teams (SWIFT) crew to complete mitigation. The SWIFT crew is expected to start in the fall of 2022. A Department of Corrections (DOC) SWIFT crew will spend 10 total weeks in La Plata County to improve safety of evacuation routes throughout the county and clear wildfire fuel from county right-of-ways. Crews may be working in your part of the county.
Crews will remove fuel by hand-thinning, limbing trees, clearing of brush, and some mechanical treatments. Wood and biomass materials will be donated. Any wood that is usable for firewood will be left along the roadside for pickup by residents.
In 2023 La Plata County will finalize revisions to the Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The document, first created in 2002, was initially a Community Fire Plan. Since, the Colorado State Forest Service created guidelines and an approval process for Community Wildfire Protection Plans. These plans involve stakeholder participation and provide not only a framework from projects and goals, but also a reference when pursuing funding sources.
For additional information about what La Plata County is doing to reduce wildfire risk in the county, please call Alison in Emergency Management at 970-382-6291.