A message from your neighbor: Chris England
Colony Mountain Neighbors:
It seems awfully early in the season, but the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has raised the fire threat to Moderate. We are in the middle of spring, yet fuels are already drying out and the threat of wildfire has begun. Although “campfires” are still allowed, general outdoor burning is suspended so you will need a permit to burn brush.
Those of us who have lived up here a while know what a struggle it can be creating and maintaining a “home ignition zone” around our homes. Brush, hazard trees, and other fire fuels can accumulate quickly, and I can attest that it’s physically demanding work to keep the ignition zone clear. The good news is the DNR and the US Forest Service (USFS) have programs in place to help homeowners pay for the cost of this work.
On Saturday, July 29 at 10:00 a.m. (location to be determined) we will be having a Firewise gathering. An official from the DNR will be here to explain how the cost-sharing program works. If you have only recently moved to our community, an official from Skagit/Whatcom County Conservation District will be here as well to talk about creating a Firewise home and to offer a free property hazard evaluation.
You may recall that around the end of last year foresters surveyed several properties to evaluate forest health. This was important because we need to create a new “Five-Year Action Plan” and “Hazard Evaluation Plan”. These documents, if prepared properly, will make us eligible to receive USFS grant money if we can show how it might benefit our community. The results of the survey will be discussed at the meeting. I need your input to create the new action plan for our neighborhood. This document describes what action we are planning to take to further prepare our community to resist wildfire.
For now, here are some things you might do to prepare:
- clean debris from your roofs and gutters
- rake and pile fire fuels (you’ll have to wait to burn them)
- ensure fire engines can get down your driveway and turn around
- ensure your address can be seen from the road
- pack a “go bag”
- mark your calendar for Saturday, July 29 at 10 a.m. for our annual Firewise gathering (we will send out a reminder in a couple of weeks prior to the event with the location).