North Routt working on wildfire plan

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What: North Routt Community Wildfire Protection Plan meeting

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: North Routt Fire Protection District Station II in Hahn's Peak, 61915 Routt County Road 129

Call: For more information, call North Routt Fire Protection District Chief Bob Reilley at 879-6064

— North Routt County community members have an opportunity to take part in a new project that will let them help develop a community wildfire protection plan.

North Routt Fire Protection District Chief Bob Reilley said on Friday that the plan's organizers are looking for North Routt landowners, ranchers and residents to attend the meetings to give input on their concerns.

The wildfire protection plan is designed to address wildfire response capability and protection of homes as well as to identify areas that the community should be proactive in saving, like watersheds, wildlife habitats and open space.

Officials with the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado State Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Routt County director of emergency management Chuck Vale are all working on the plan, he said.

"It's a collaborative effort, but the goal here is to have the plan be community driven so that our business owners, residents and landowners determine what kind of future is out there for the area," he said.

Reilley said the plan is unique in the sense that it is not a federal mandate and directives for the plan are not given by federal or state agencies.

"This isn't another federal document or even a county document; it's the citizens of North Routt forming a standpoint on what it is important to us," he said. "This is our word to (the federal agencies) instead of the other way around."

To be adopted by the Healthy Forests Restoration Acts of 2003, the plan needs to be agreed upon by the local government, local fire authority and state forestry official.

The HFRA, which was signed by President George W. Bush in December 2003, contains a variety of provisions that speed up forest restoration on specific types of federal land that are at risk of wildland fire or insect and disease epidemics.

Thursday's meeting is the second in a series of meetings designed to involve the community in the process.

- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234 or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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