Burning Slash Piles Now OK in Colorado; Prescribed Burns Waiting For Science


Here’s a link and below is an excerpt.

The amended burn order acknowledges “burning remains the least expensive and most effective method” for removing slash piles to reduce the risk of wildfire, but says the fires will be allowed only when there is a minimum of 4-6 inches of snow on the ground. The order also requires neighbors of potentially affected areas, local governments and the media to be notified.

Hickenlooper said experts tell him that prescribed burns to eliminate dense forest undergrowth are crucial for mitigation, but said the science behind them must be considered before prescribed burns beyond burning slash piles is brought back.

A second executive order created the 12-member Wildland and Prescribed Fire Advisory Committee to work with the director of the Division of Fire Prevention and Control to improve wildfire preparedness, response, suppression and management of prescribed fires.

The group’s tasks include “work to ensure continued safety and protection for residents on the wildland-urban interface, while promoting the health and longevity of our state’s natural forests through properly regulated pile burnings.”

With the third order, Hickenlooper created the 17-member Task Force on Wildfire Insurance and Forest Health to review issues related to coverage — including replacement costs of destroyed homes, accounting for personal property losses, relocation assistance and timeliness of insurance benefits.

The task force is also to look for ways insurance policies could provide incentives to landowners to promote forest health and reduce fire risks.

Note from Sharon: In our effort to see beyond partisan boundaries, I am going to start drawing attention to the party and location of politicians involved in our issues. Governor Hickenlooper is mostly a Metro-Elk kind of guy but being Governor has made him more aware of Colorado’s rural areas. He is a D. I don’t know if it’s him, or the nature of Colorado, but task forces seem like ways to approach bipartisan or nonpartisan solutions. It seems to me (hypothesis) that wildfires are a larger share of state business in the Interior West than the more urban and wetter Western Seaboard states, and so we might see some interesting policy solutions come from this part of the west.

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