Forest Projects

Defensible Space Demonstration Project


Project Description

In 2020 BTWC was awarded an Action, Implementation, and Mitigation grant by Collaboratives & Coalitions Inc, to support defensible space demonstration sites with landowners of the Cedar Park and Storm Mountain communities of Drake, CO. This community area is one of the densest housing areas within the Big Thompson Canyon with over 500 year-round and seasonal residents. Given 2020’s record-breaking fire season in Northern Colorado, active USFS forest management surrounding the community, and resident interest in forest management support, the timing is right for BTWC to provide resources to increase landowner interest, knowledge, and participation in forest fuel reduction through this one-time cost share program.

This program will identify and support up to 8 interested landowners in defensible space and forest fuel management on their properties in summer 2021. Community associations are encouraged to apply and will be considered for ‘community benefit’ projects if landowner slots are not filled.

Apply now for this cost-share program! Application will be open through July 10th 2021, or until landowner slots are filled.

Contact our staff to learn more about this project or your applicability as a landowner: info@bigthompson.co

Apply for this Cost Share Program!

Click the button below to fill out an application for this cost share program

    Please anticipate these steps if you apply to this program process:

    1) Fill out application – applications will be reviewed and compared by BTWC and their Board of Directors Selection Committee

    If selected as one of 8 awarded landowners:

    2) Set up a phone call and site visit with BTWC Staff

    3) Schedule and complete a Home-Ignition Zone (HIZ, i.e. defensible space) assessment with BTWC and fire management professional

    4) Work with BTWC to refine treatment, host contractor, complete Home-Ignition Zone (HIZ) assessment mitigation actions, join and host end-of-project tour, and host BTWC-led volunteer assistance events

    Participating landowners will be responsible for :

    • Paying cost share (see treatment section below for estimates)
    • Coordinating and attending the Home-Ignition Zone (HIZ) assessment
    • Coordinating with BTWC staff on site visits, treatment plans, contractor work timelines, volunteer events, and educational tours
    • Completing baseline HIZ tasks (or hiring help to do so)
    • Tracking your time, labor, and activities as a part of the project
    • Spreading the word on the “Whats, Whys, and Hows” of forest management work in your community
    • Posting a sign for 1-2 years sharing the outcomes of the project
    • Welcoming fuel processing partners onsite for the 2021-2022 winter or the following winter

    BTWC will  be responsible for:

    • Coordinating a Home-Ignition Zone (HIZ) assessment with landowners
    • Defensible space treatment design
    • Before and after forest monitoring
    • Contractor hiring (hiring one contractor for all 8 properties reduces the price per acre for everyone!)
    • Contracting/liability coverage of forestry contractors, oversight, and payment
    • Recruiting, coordinating, and overseeing volunteers
    • Coordinating and contracting fuel processing partners for the 2021-2022 winter or the following winter
      Defensible Space

      Treatment Options

      Applying landowners may select their interest in these treatment options

      Defensible Space Only

      • 4 households will receive full defensible space treatment (tailored from BTWC baseline design)
      • Landowners and BTWC finalize design plan and conduct HIZ assessment
      • Landowners responsible for structure-based risk reduction around house (windows, debris, roofing/siding, gutter cleaning, etc.)
      • BTWC contractors will process materials on 2 properties through chipping or ‘lop and scatter’, all material dispersed on property
      • BTWC contractors will process materials on 2 properties through pile burning or machine use, material less than 6″ removed from property
      • Cost share 50:50 – landowners pay half, BTWC pays half
      • Landowner costs anticipated at $1,000 – $1,800

      Defensible Space and forest thinning

      • $  4 households will receive full defensible space treatment AND forestry treatment on at least 3 acres around home (tailored from BTWC baseline design)
      • Landowners and BTWC will finalize design plan and conduct HIZ assessment
      • Landowners responsible for structure-based risk reduction around house (windows, debris, roofing/siding, gutter cleaning, etc.)
      • BTWC contractors will process materials on 2 properties through chipping or ‘lop and scatter’, all material dispersed on property
      • BTWC contractors will process materials on 2 properties through pile burning or machine use, material less than 6″ removed from property
      • Cost share 50:50 for defensible space and 60:40 for forestry treatment  – BTWC pays slightly more than half for more acres treated
      • Landowner costs anticipated at $1,000 – $1,800 for defensible space and $1,000 – $1,200 per acre for forestry treatment beyond defensible space. Fire application treatments may cost more than chipping and ‘lop and scatter’

      Wood fuel processing options by BTWC forestry contractors

      Lop and scatter technique leaves material on the ground for natural decomposition

      Lop and Scatter Treatments

      Keep material onsite but cut it into small sections less than 18 inches tall off the ground.

      Lop and scatter technique leaves material on the ground for natural decomposition

      Wood Chip Treatments

      Will keep material onsite but disperse wood chips across the property less than 3 inches deep to decompose faster.

      Pile building and burning by professionals may be the best management practice identified for some properties

      Pile Burn Treatments

      Will be managed by a professional pile burn team and will fully process (remove) all material less than 6 inches from the property.

      Visit https://airburners.com/technology/principle/ for more information on air curtain burner technology

      Air Curtain Burner Treatments

      Will be managed by a professional burn team and will fully process (remove) all materials less than 6 inches from the property.

      Our Project Partners

      • Coalitions and Collaboratives, Inc.
      • Cedar Park/Storm Mountain Landowners
      • Peaks to People Water Fund
      • The Ember Alliance
      • Local Fire Departments
      • Community Volunteers 
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