SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4)– Summit County towns are partnering with the US Forest Service for a first-of-its kind new wildfire mitigation patrol to combat what many believe will be an extremely bad fire season this year.
Local towns and the county raising $130,000 to fund a four-person team to patrol dispersed camping areas in the county on federal land to help look for unattended fires and educate campers to the danger.
Additional money will fund Summit County Sheriff deputies’ overtime to patrol the 600 miles of area in the county to help mitigate the danger.
Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons says the community demanded local leaders do something proactive in light of the dry winter and expected high fire danger.
“Putting extra people out there monitoring smoke, and patrolling for campfires and having additional man power for if and when we have a fire ban,” FitzSimons said.
Summit County will provide the funding for a crew of four seasonal workers to supervise efforts on federal land, since the USFS does not have the budget to provide those positions.
The Forest Service and local fire crews are also busy trying to get ahead of the season by increasing mitigation efforts, including wood chipping programs, and clearing fuels near homes.
And this is welcomed news to residents who watched as a mountainside turned inferno just outside of Breckenridge last summer as the Peak 2 Fire burned dozens of acres.
– Visit CBSDenver.com’s Living With Wildfire section.
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