BOULDER COUNTY, Colo. – On Aug. 13, federal, state and local governments joined with non-profit entities in Boulder County to establish a shared vision for reducing the risk of wildfire to its residences, recreation areas and natural resources through closely coordinated forest management across all lands.
With the signing of the agreement, the Colorado State Forest Service joined the USDA Forest Service and Boulder County in identifying a shared vision for the future of forest management in Boulder County.
The agencies signed the agreement together with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, City of Longmont, City of Boulder, the communities of Nederland, Gold Hill and Lyons, Boulder County Firefighters Association, Longmont Conservation District, Boulder Valley Conservation District and Colorado Forest Restoration Institute at Colorado State University.
The agreement sets a vision for Boulder County forest management that includes:
- Meaningfully and continuously engaging stakeholders located in the forest and downstream
- Establishing a regional network of resilient forests better able to absorb and recover from current and future natural disturbances
- Collaboratively developing and supporting both wildland and prescribed fire management strategies so that wildfires are safely and effectively extinguished when and where needed and, in the right circumstances, more flexibly managed to reduce future risks
- Fostering resilient forest ecosystems that support water quality and quantity needs, habitat for robust and healthy flora and fauna, and abundant recreation opportunities
- Actively managing the forest to enhance its health and reduce wildfire risk based on the best available data and contemporary science, including the use of climate science to understand how a changing climate will impacts forests
- Promoting the personal responsibility of residents who live in high-risk areas to plan and prepare for wildfire
As part of the effort, the Left Hand Watershed Center, Boulder County Forest Collaborative and Boulder Watershed Collective will ramp up their efforts with stakeholders, scientists and the other signatories to refine the shared vision going forward and identify mutual priority actions that meet the vision and goals of the agreement.
Boulder County is ranked among the top 10 most at-risk areas from wildfire in the USDA Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region. Since 1989, wildfires in the county have claimed 260 homes and structures, burned more than 16,000 acres and threatened the lives and properties of thousands of mountain residents.
While low-intensity wildfires are a natural part of a healthy ecosystem, fire suppression over the last 100 years has led to forests in many parts of Boulder County to have vegetation densities 10 to 100 times their natural state, leaving Boulder County’s residents, recreation areas and natural resources vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire.
For more information, please visit boco.org/ForestMOU-FAQ.