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LTE: BoCo Fire Chiefs weigh in on wildfire mitigation measure

We all live in a land that is prone to wildfire.
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A grass fire in the area of 55th Street and Nelson Road in Longmont breaks out April 20, 2022 around 3:30 p.m.

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As Fire Chiefs of mountain and rural fire districts in our county, we have come together to ask Boulder County residents to support Ballot Measure 1A for Wildfire Mitigation, to provide a dedicated funding source to accomplish county-wide wildfire risk reduction projects and programs.

For decades, the districts we represent have been committed to addressing and mitigating the profound risk uncontrolled wildfire poses to lives, property, lands, and other values. We have all seen our residents impacted by catastrophic wildfire, and we have all struggled to accomplish meaningful action that matches the immense threat of wildfire.

Our districts are simply not equipped to engage in wildfire mitigation activities at a pace and scale to accomplish the level of risk reduction we owe our communities. This ballot measure seeks to address that gap in our collective capacity.

As we have seen from the Four Mile Fire, the Cold Springs Fire, The Calwood and Lefthand Fires, and most recently the Marshall Fire, there is virtually no space in Boulder County that is immune from the devastating potential of wildfire.

The funding that will be made available with a yes vote on the Wildfire Mitigation measure will benefit all communities and lands in Boulder County and will promote the fire service’s fundamental goal of preserving life and property.

This ballot measure represents a comparatively modest investment in risk reduction, in order to avoid the enormous costs of repairing wildfire devastation to property, drinking water, infrastructure and commerce.

As supervisors of firefighters with extensive backgrounds in wildfire suppression and management, we can directly testify that well-planned wildfire mitigation projects make a tremendous difference to the severity and impacts of wildfires when they occur. These projects can create safe corridors for citizens to escape from a wildfire’s path and create effective spaces for firefighters to contain and control the spread of wildfire. Wildfire mitigation projects also protect invaluable watersheds, ecosystems, and many other values.

We all live in a land that is prone to wildfire. There is nothing that can be done to change this fact. But we can adapt to wildfire risk, and proactively work to reduce wildfire risk in every part of Boulder County.

Vote yes on the Wildfire Mitigation measure to enable wildfire specialists in Boulder County to implement critical solutions to wildfire risk. Vote yes to protect yourself and your neighbors. Vote yes to protect property. Vote yes to preserve our cherished lands, vulnerable habitats, and irreplaceable watersheds. Vote yes to give firefighters the greatest chance of success the next time a wildfire occurs in Boulder County.

Allenspark Chief Cousineau, Big Elk Chief Isenhart, Boulder Mountain Chief Benson, Boulder Rural Chief Schwab, Coal Creek Chief Ball, Four Mile Chief Gibson, Gold Hill Chief Finn, Hygiene Chief Trevithick, Jamestown Chief Mans, Lefthand Chief O'Brien, Lyons Chief Zick, Nederland Chief Scott, Sugarloaf Chief Winchester, Sunshine Chief Schmitt, Timberline Chief Ondr