In 2019, at a special meeting of the membership in conjunction with Boulder Fire-Rescue’s Wildland Division, we adopted a holistic wildfire mitigation policy for our common areas that included the following:
- Limbing up our common-area evergreens to create fuels separation between lower branches and our wild grasses
- Selective string-trimming of wild grasses close to potential ladder fuels
- Removal of junipers and pinyons in our common areas
- Annual removal of pine needles under evergreens in our common areas
- Helping interested homeowners with trimming branches of their own fire-risky trees that hang into our common areas
We have completed or are about to complete the limbing-up of trees and removal of common-area junipers, and each year since 2019 we have removed pine needles under our Ponderosas and selectively string-trimmed our wild grasses. Some homeowners have taken us up on our offer of help in mitigating risk posed by their own trees.
In 2022, we held another meeting to revisit our neighborhood wildfire risk in the wake of the Marshall and NCAR fires. Chief Brian Oliver of BFRD’s Wildland Division was there to answer questions (see the summary and minutes of that meeting here), and new information came to light. As a result, we have revised our plan as follows:
- Because we learned of the winter fire hazard posed by dry, dormant, deciduous materials, and because there are so many of those growing near our perimeter fence line, starting in 2022, we will be string-trimming a continuous 8-inch-tall, 10-foot-wide swath around the entire SR4 and Longwood fence line when the grasses stop growing and begin to cure, in July or August. This will also help mitigate the fire risk to our split-rail fencing. In addition, we will continue to string-trim for fuels separation near trees that are growing in our native grasses beyond the 10-foot trimmed swath.
- We will continue to assess and remove deciduous materials in our fields that could act as ladder fuels when dormant.
- We will add a fall cleanup to our spring cleanup to reduce the amount of dry fuels in our fields and parking islands available during the winter months.
- We will continue to inform homeowners of the hazard to themselves and the neighborhood as a whole posed by fire-risky items on their own properties. We will seek ways to assist in mitigation efforts conducted on private properties.
Homeowners should be aware that even with the mitigation efforts the HOA is undertaking in our common spaces, the real key to wildfire resilience in SR4 is the mitigation done in and around homes on private property. Without that, we remain at significant risk for a Marshall-style fire event on Silver Plume. Please see our Wildfire FAQs 2022 and BFRD’s Wildland Fire Preparedness Guide for more information on how to keep your home, and therefore all our homes, safe.
As always, this plan is subject to revision as new information comes to light or conditions change.