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FireWise of Southwest Colorado

Non-profit

FireWise of Southwest Colorado

Durango, CO 81302

Website Email
Address:

Durango
CO 81302

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.

Upper Dolores Watershed Project

Stakeholders interested in the protection of the Upper Dolores River Watershed have begun meeting to assess wildfire risks to the watershed and to determine a course to accelerate forestry practices and projects that protect or restore watershed health. FireWise is facilitating the initial dialogue with early partners including the USFS, CSFS, Dolores Water Conservancy District, county and town governments, timber industry representatives, Dolores Fire Protection District, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Mountain Studies Institute, and the Colorado Third Congressional District.

Biomass Working Group

A regional working group came out of regional wildfire collaborative meetings, with the acknowledgment that there is not always an outlet for the biomass removed during fuel reduction projects, and building the forest product industry will improve the economics of some forest treatments. The group commissioned a biomass study in 2015 to weigh a variety of potential biomass opportunities with an understanding of current harvesting and processing capacities. FireWise is facilitating the initial efforts with participants including the USFS, CSFS, Mountain Studies Institute, San Juan Citizens Alliance, Southwest Colorado Conservation Corps, and Southern Ute BIA.