Forest Management and Forest Health

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Since 2006 the Summit County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC), through the Summit County Wildfire Council (SCWC), has provided matching grants to eligible homeowner groups to support community wildfire protection projects. In 2008, Summit County voters approved Referred Measure 1A, which among other things provides funding to support the Summit County Wildfire Mitigation Grant programs. The Grant programs assist Summit County property owners with actual costs associated with community protection from wildfire through a reimbursement process. In May, 2016, the Town of Breckenridge applied for a Community Wildfire Plan Implementation Grant to support the annual Chipping Program that the Town offers as a service to it’s residents.

2017 Summit County Chipping Program Information
2016 Wildfire Mitigation Award Winners

See the Summit County website page regarding Wildfire Mitigation Grants for application information and the link to the pre-application (on the right hand side of the page) here.

See the information from the Police Department regarding wildfire mitigation here.

See the Summit News video on prescribed burns in Summit County here.

See the informative video on "Ready, Set, Go" Wildland Fire Action Planning here.

See the Wildfire Pre and Post Planning for the Goose Pasture Tarn Watershed here.

Tree Contractor Information:
Detailed information for Approved Tree Contractors: Breckenridge Contractor Forest Health

For questions, please contact the Community Development Department at 970-453-3160.

Program History:
During the mining boom of the late 1800’s, most of the lodgepole pine stands surrounding Breckenridge were clear-cut. The generation of the replacement stand was not actively managed, and therefore came back as a dense, even aged regrowth lodgepole forest.
Twenty to thirty years ago, the US Forest Service (USFS) was actively managing timber harvests in the Upper Blue in an effort to diversify the age and density of the lodgepole forest. When that practice ended here, it also ended in most of the rest of their jurisdiction in the state. The private sector responded by reducing capacity, and closing down most of the active sawmills and other forest products processing facilities that served the area.
The severe regional drought that occurred in 2002 left our monoculture lodgepole forests, that were nearing the end of their normal life expectancy, in a greatly compromised state to ward off a stand clearing infestations like the one which we are experiencing now. Among forestry experts, predictions for 90 to 95% mortality are common for the lodgepole stands in our area. Forest management agencies, local government, the private sector, and property owners have all mobilized in the years following the drought to develop plans to actively manage the forest in an effort to be prepared as best they can for a potential catastrophic forest fire. Staff has been working to coordinate these efforts in our community in order to avoid duplication, fill gaps in addressing the threat, and apply for outside funding to support these efforts.

Barney Ford Burn Piles
Barney Ford burn piles from 2011 (C) Matt Thompson 

Summit County Wildfire Council:
Much of Summit County's development occurs in the "wildland/urban interface", meaning that homes and businesses are built in close proximity to forested areas. Summit County's forests currently have or are anticipated to have a high risk of wildfire, which places many of our homes and businesses in danger from wildfire.
To address the potential for catastrophic wildfire, Summit County Government, local fire districts, Colorado State Forest Service, U.S.D.A. Forest Service, towns and other entities joined forces to develop the Summit County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (SCCWPP). This plan outlines an active process for reducing hazards in the wildland/urban interface through fuel reduction projects.

Contact Us:
Town of Breckenridge Planning Department, (970) 453-3160
Red, White & Blue Fire (970) 453-2474
Ron Cousineau, District Forester, Colorado State Forest Service, Granby District (970) 887-3121
Dan Schroder, Summit County Wildfire Council (CSU Extension Office) (970) 668-3595

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