FireWise of Southwest Colorado provides education, planning and implementation support to residents across a five-county region. We manage a unique Neighborhood Ambassador Program which is the backbone of our organization. Volunteer ambassadors lead by example and serve as catalysts within their neighborhoods, encouraging their neighbors to become more aware, active and prepared for wildfires. Ambassadors receive training, support, ongoing education, access to wildfire information experts, and notice of grant opportunities to help their high-wildfire-risk neighborhoods become more fire adapted. In 2015 FireWise was supporting about 180 ambassadors.
FireWise offers planning support in the form of community assessments and Community Wildfire Protection Plans and we also offer several incentive programs to help residents with both mitigation work and the disposal of slash.
We offer a wide variety of workshops and tours to help residents better understand both the impacts of fire and how they can reduce those impacts. We bring our many partners together twice a year to share information and discuss regional issues.
In 2015, we started a collaborative group in Montezuma County that is looking at ways to protect water quality in McPhee Reservoir through forest restoration in the Upper Dolores watershed.
Our organization consists of five part-time staff: an Executive Director, Coordinators in La Plata, Archuleta, and Montezuma Counties, and a Community Wildfire Protection Plan Coordinator.