The threat from wildfire is ever present. Approximately 50 percent of wildfires are started from lightning; the rest have some human connection. Homeowners should be vigilant in mitigating hazards around their homes, and be aware an evacuation could be necessary on moment’s notice.
Cordillera was the first community in Eagle County to develop a Community Wildfire Protection Plan and has been certified FireWise since 2005. Association rules require owners to strategically manage fuels around their home so fire fighters can safely defend the property and it has a better chance of surviving. Extra attention should be paid to the 30-feet immediately adjacent to the structure where a "Defensible Space" should be created.
Through the years residents have modified structural hazards and reduced fuels around their homes. Cordillera has thinned brush and trees along roadways and on community-owned lands. These projects are on-going, with higher hazard sites periodically revisited as vegetation continues to grow.
Cordillera has been working to conduct individual home assessments utilizing the REALFire program, which Cordillera adopted in collaboration with Eagle County. Onsite assessments provide homeowners with a list of proactive tasks designed to reduce the potential for fire damage and spread, and to improve safety for firefighters should an event occur.
The Cordillera Tree Management Program was implemented with property owner safety and forest health being paramount. The forest’s health is important to keeping infestations and disease to a minimum, which also minimizes wildfires.
Any trees along Cordillera roadways and easements that pose safety concerns or property damage are investigated and appropriate steps taken. This program also includes new plantings of trees.
Bark beetle activity is cyclical. Around 2004, a beetle epidemic hit Cordillera, peaking in 2010. Since then, pine beetle activity in Cordillera has subsided. However, beetles continue to inhabit and kill trees within Cordillera.
Indication of an infested tree include:
- Small groups of dead and dying Douglas fir trees.
- Needles fading from green to red-brown before dropping.
- The presence of reddish-brown boring dust around the base of trees and within the cracks and crevices of the bark.
- Streaming resin along the trunk.
- Wood pecker damage.
- Exit holes.
When signs of bark beetles appear, Cordillera Public Safety works with the Colorado State Forest Service to inspect the community and collect data. They then develop an action plan to mitigate beetle impacts. Special attention is paid to areas adjacent to private property where Cordillera treats healthy trees and removes infested trees.
Cordillera supports property owner mitigation efforts for wildfire and insect infestation. Property owners are encouraged to contact John Gulick, healthy forest project coordinator, to report their efforts. Please call 970-569-6250, extension 240.
Aspens grow from roots that spread from other aspen trees; new trees are considered clones. Aspen trees are dying at a rapid rate. Experts cite several factors including drought, rising temperatures, old age and disease. This has been labeled Sudden Aspen Decline, or SAD. When a stand of aspen begins to experience health issues, the entire stand may b affected. What is alarming about SAD is that some aspen stands that are dying show no signs of regeneration or new growth. There is no treatment for SAD.
Cordillera supports mitigation efforts for wildfire and insect infestation. Property owners are encouraged to contact Cliff Simonton to report their efforts. Removal of tree and vegetation must be approved by the Design Review Board.
Removal of tree and vegetation must be approved by the Design Review Board.