Indian Hills Fire Protection District Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) – What steps can you take to help Mitigate Fire Risks on your property? You are encouraged to download the document and review. Have Questions – ask Indian Hills Fire Protection District your questions.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Steep terrain, large areas of continuous fuels, and frequent high fire danger weather conditions make wildfire a significant concern in Jefferson County, as substantiated by recent large fires. The Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) is a strategic plan that identifies wildland fire issues facing the community and outlines prioritized mitigation actions. Once the CWPP is adopted, it is the community’s responsibility to move forward and implement the action items. This may require further planning at the project level, acquisition of funds, or simply motivating community members.
The Healthy Forests Restoration Act (HFRA) of 2003 provides the impetus for wildfire risk assessment and planning at the county and community level. HFRA refers to this level of planning as Community Wildfire Protection Plans. The CWPP allows a community to evaluate its current situation with regards to wildfire risk and devise ways to reduce risk for protection of human welfare and other important economic or ecological values. The CWPP may address issues such as community wildfire risk, structure flammability, hazardous fuels and non-fuels mitigation, community preparedness, and emergency procedures. A Core Team provides oversight to the development of the CWPP and its implementation in the assessment area.
The focus of this CWPP is on the Jefferson County community of Indian Hills and the Indian Hills Fire Protection District (IHFPD). Human life and welfare are values at risk to wildfire because of the buildup of hazardous fuels around communities and structures and the rural nature of emergency vehicle ingress and egress. Other economic values at risk include businesses, recreational land, wildlife habitat, historic and cultural sites, and critical infrastructure.
Wildfires are common in Jefferson County. In the absence of comprehensive fire data for Indian Hills, the two nearby US Forest Service (USFS) district histories were evaluated showing an average of 45 fires per annum. Significant fires in the area include the 1978 Murphy Gulch fire that scorched 3,300 acres just a couple of miles to the southeast of Indian Hills, and the 1989 Mount Falcon fire that burned over 50 acres on the eastern edge of Indian Hills. The last decade has seen hundreds of thousands of acres burned in the forests near this community, including the Buffalo Creek fire (1996), the Hi Meadow fire (2000), the Snaking fire (2002), the Schoonover fire (2002) and the Hayman fire (2002). While the majority of local forest fires were lighting-caused (65 percent), four out of the five largest fires during the last three decades were human caused.
Natural resource management policy and changing ecological conditions have interacted to produce hazardous fuel situations throughout the assessment area. These forces include historic fire suppression policy, ponderosa pine invasion into shrublands and grasslands, overstocked forests and open spaces, invasive weeds, and changing climatic patterns. The accumulation of hazardous fuels may set the stage for catastrophic wildfire occurrence, resulting in the loss of important economic and ecological values. A variety of hazardous fuel conditions exist in the IHFPD and need to be addressed through the coordinated efforts of fire authorities and private residents.
The IHFPD maintains eight emergency vehicles out of a single fire station. Of the 25 volunteer firefighters, eight are currently trained in wildland firefighting. With these limited resources, the IHFPD faces an expansive wildfire issues, including lack of defensible space, ingress/egress restrictions, and large areas of fuels on public and private lands.
Download the document and read about your Indian Hills Community, review the Indian Hills Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) and learn to become Firewise. What steps can you take to help Mitigate Fire Risks on your property?