Saws and Slaws crew members working with the Ridge Road and St. Anton Highlands neighborhoods to improve the safety of a critical emergency egress route. Photo Credit: Randy Lee, Town of Nederland Trustee
Saws and Slaws crew members working with the Ridge Road and St. Anton Highlands neighborhoods to improve the safety of a critical emergency egress route. Photo: Randy Lee, Town of Nederland Trustee

BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. – In January, a national Wildfire Mitigation Awards Committee announced that 6 out of the 21 awards for 2015 were received by Colorado organizations and individuals for outstanding efforts in wildfire preparedness and safety.

One of these organizations was Saws and Slaws, which received a Wildfire Mitigation Innovation Award. Saws and Slaws is a community-based program of neighbors helping neighbors to promote healthy forests and reduce wildfire risk which originated in the town of Coal Creek Canyon and has spread to Nederland and Sugarloaf, Colo.

Award Sponsors

The inaugural Wildfire Mitigation Awards were jointly sponsored by the National Association of State Foresters (NASF), International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the USDA Forest Service. The awards were separated into three categories: (1) Fire Adapted Communities Fire Service Leadership, (2) Wildfire Mitigation Innovation and (3) Community Wildfire Preparedness Pioneer.

Saws and Slaws

The Saws and Slaws program is a key component of the Town of Nederland’s Firewise Community/USA® and Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) efforts. Through on the ground, education and outreach efforts, Saws and Slaws works to reduce the danger of wildfire, improve forest health, implement wildfire mitigation at the neighborhood level, and build a stronger sense of community within neighborhoods by fostering volunteerism in the greater Nederland area.

“We were so ecstatic and honored to hear that we had been one of the recipients of the Wildfire Mitigation Innovation Award!” said Cesar Gellido, originator of the Saws and Slaws program. “Saws and Slaws is looking forward to this coming 2015 season, as we continue to collaborate with organizations and agencies such as the CSFS, The Environmental Group, the Town of Nederland, Boulder County and the American Red Cross that have provided critical enabling support.”

Gellido would also like to give special thanks to Boulder County’s Jim Webster who nominated Saws and Slaws for the Wildfire Mitigation Innovation Award.

Gellido will be travelling with members of Saws and Slaws to the IAFC Wildland Urban Interface Conference in Reno, Nev., to accept the Wildfire Mitigation Innovation Award on March 25.

Colorado Inaugural 2015 Wildfire Mitigation Award Winners

Fire Adapted Communities Fire Service Leadership Award

  • Chris Barth, Bureau of Land Management –  Montrose
  • Colorado Springs Wildfire Mitigation Section, Colorado Springs Fire Department/City of Colorado Springs – Colorado Springs

Wildfire Mitigation Innovation Award

  • Pam Wilson, Executive Director, Firewise of Southwest Colorado & Local Firewise Council – Durango
  • Saws and Slaws – Boulder County
  • West Region Wildfire Council – Montrose

Community Wildfire Preparedness Pioneer Award

  • Judy Winzell, Falls Creek Ranch Homeowners Association – Durango