Program to help reduce wildfire risks, costs


ALAMOSA – The Colorado State Forest Service announced today that the San Luis Valley has been selected as one of eight new “communities” from across the country that will receive technical assistance in 2018 under a national program that helps reduce the impacts from wildfires.

As more cities and counties across the country experience devastating wildfires, the Community Planning Assistance for Wildfire (CPAW) program offers much-needed support at the local level. Through CPAW, communities in the SLV will collaborate with the Colorado State Forest Service and a team of consultants, including land use planners and risk mapping experts, to help communities identify and implement local planning measures, such as improved policies to reduce wildfire risk to future development.

“This will provide a great opportunity to bring together new partners to help plan for a potential wildfire affecting communities in the San Luis Valley,” said District Forester Adam Moore.

Alamosa County Commissioner Darius Allen added, “This project fits in with our goal in the San Luis Valley of not being reactive, but active with our forests & public lands where we need to plan for the future, including potential wildfires.”

CPAW was founded by Wildfire Planning International and Headwaters Economics, and is funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Forest Service and private foundations. The CSFS Alamosa District will be one of the members of the steering committee for the program, bringing its expertise in wildfire mitigation and work with communities on Community Wildfire Protection Plans.

“We believe the San Luis Valley is in an excellent position to benefit from CPAW due to the wildfire risk to its communities, anticipated planning updates, and strong leadership support for this opportunity,” said Molly Mowery, president of Wildfire Planning International. “Many communities have an interest in reducing wildfire risk through land use planning mechanisms, but may lack the capacity or expertise. CPAW provides the assistance needed to help achieve a positive outcome.”

As wildfires in the U.S. increasingly burn more acres, last longer, and cause damage to communities, CPAW provides an opportunity to help communities reverse these trends through better land-use planning.

“Good land-use planning is not about telling people where to build. It’s about respecting private property while making safer, smarter community development decisions to avoid future wildfire disasters,” said Ray Rasker, Ph.D., executive director of Headwaters Economics.

More information is available via the CSFS Alamosa District and at www.planningforwildfire.org.

The Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS) is a service and outreach agency of the Warner College of Natural Resources at Colorado State University and provides staffing for the Division of Forestry within the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. The CSFS provides technical forestry assistance, wildfire mitigation expertise and outreach and education to help landowners and communities achieve their forest management goals. The CSFS Alamosa District serves Alamosa, Costilla, Conejos, Rio Grande, Saguache, and Mineral counties. For more information, visit www.csfs.colostate.edu.

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