SR4 Fire Mitigation Plan – December 2019

SR4 Fire Mitigation Plan – December 2019

SR4 Fire Mitigation Plan – December 2019

As an HOA, we have worked with Boulder Fire Rescue (BFRD) to understand and tackle fire risk in our common areas. In our fields, we have tall grasses and highly flammable evergreens in close conjunction. Evergreen trees burn most easily starting from below, and once lit, become a source of embers. After much discussion with BFRD, and taking into account environmental factors and neighbor concerns, we have developed the following common-area fire mitigation plan (see map of areas that need work, also posted on this website), which was approved at a special meeting on September 18, 2019.

  1. Limb up common-area evergreens that are in close proximity to our native grasses to create separation between the fuels. This was begun at our spring clean-up in May 2019.
  • Weed-whack grasses strategically. We learned that in high wind conditions, flame height can be, on average, four times fuel height. So to avoid limbing trees too much, or having to remove them altogether, we will also use that rule of thumb to reduce grass height in areas near evergreen trees. (Deciduous trees and shrubs don’t pose much fire hazard.)
  • We will not be doing any wholesale mowing of our grasses. The vegetation stewardship supervisor from Open Space and Mountain Parks let us know that mowing native grasses, or even whacking them shorter than about 8 inches, weakens them and encourages invasive weeds, so we will do everything we can to leave our grasses untouched. A diagram of our intended spot weed-whacking plan can be found here and as a separate document (“Fuel Separation Diagram”) on this web page.
  • Remove junipers and pinyon pines in common areas that could ignite homes or other fuels. We have already begun this program with the large junipers on our west walk.
  • Rake out fallen needles from beneath common area evergreens at spring clean-up each year. We raked out 20 bags in May 2019!
  • Discuss with individual homeowners branches on their own trees that are hanging close to or into field grasses. With permission, we’ll be glad to help trim them.
  • For those who want them, continue to allow weed-whacked fire breaks behind individual fence lines, but no more than 5 feet wide, with grass height no shorter than about 8 inches. If your home is far enough from the field, and you’ve addressed flammables on your own property, you may not need to do this. Note: Surprisingly, our split rail fences are not especially fire risky, unless they are directly attached to a home.

While the board feels the above plan currently works well to enhance our safety and protect our environment, it’s possible we will need to modify it from time to time as new information, protocols, or community input comes to light. Please let the board know if you have any comments or concerns.

BFRD is also eager to do free, more detailed, individual home risk assessments to discuss the specific risks on your own property and what you can do to address them. A number of our homeowners have already taken advantage of this service and learned much. To set up your own assessment, go to https://bouldercolorado.gov/fire-rescue/wildfire-home-assessment-project.
 

Sincerely,

SR4 Board of Directors:

     Bob Evans, President; Ed Sacks Secretary; Don Middleton, Treasurer; Helen Petach

Jere Eggleston, Chair, Architectural Review Committee

Merilee Eggleston, Chair, Landscape Maintenance Committee