March 01, 2013

The Importance of Community in Wildfire Prevention and Hazard Mitigation

Meredith Van Horn

Much of Colorado is vulnerable to wildfires. A serious threat to many Coloradans, wildfires destroy homes and personal property and take lives. Historically, in Colorado a wildfire occurs every six to twenty years. Merrill R. Kaufman, Ayn Shlisky, and Peter Marchand, Good Fire, Bad Fire: How to Think about Forest Land Management and Ecological Process (2005) at 5. Colorado State Forest Service, About Wildfire. The 2012 Aerial Forest Health Survey by the USFS and Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) revealed that the mountain pine beetle infestation has spread to 3.3 million acres of forests in Colorado. In addition, 741,000 acres of forest have been infected with the spruce pine beetle. In 2012, Colorado’s statewide snowpack was at 52 percent of average, which is the lowest snowpack level in a decade. Natural Resources Conservation Service, NRCS Colorado Snow Survey and Water Supply News Release, Apr. 4, 2012. An assessment by the CSFS in 2007 showed that between 2000 and 2030 the wildland urban interface (WUI) areas will increase by 300 percent in Colorado to 2,161,400 acres. Colorado State Forest Service, Colorado’s Wildland-Urban Interface, Current and Projected.

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