JAMESTOWN, Colo. (CBS4) – As drought conditions intensify, firefighters and volunteer groups are chipping away at Colorado’s wildfire risk. Fire officials are predicting another spring with above normal potential for large wildfires, which in parts of Boulder County is the last thing homeowners want to hear. On Saturday, volunteers with Team Rubicon, a veteran volunteer group that responds to disasters, worked to make things safer for homeowners in Jamestown.
“We’re trying to thin out what we call an unhealthy forest,” said Rex Laceby, incident commander with Team Rubicon.READ MORE: Pedro Juan Gallegos Arrested, Accused In Weekend Shooting Of Denver Police Officer
As the Lefthand Canyon Fire grew and Calwood Fire enveloped homes last October, Craig and Mary Brown of Jamestown spent days on standby.
“Our cars were all loaded up and we were pointing downhill, and we were ready to go on a moment’s notice,” Craig Brown said.
“It was pretty scary,” Mary Brown said.
While the couple never had to evacuate, burn scars from past fires nearby are a reminder of what could have been.
On Saturday, the work began to prepare for future fires around their home of more than two decades, as volunteers spent hours doing mitigation work around the property.
“I would guess that this fire season is going to be worse than last fire season,” said Laceby. “The work that we do, it’s mitigating the damage to certain areas when a fire will happen.”
Laceby, who also fought the Calwood Fire, and dozens of other volunteers will be out in the area for a total of nine days. Much of the work will include clearing trees and removing fuels from the ground near homes.READ MORE: Winter Driving Returns To Colorado's I-70 Mountain Corridor, Truckers Will Need Chains
“We’re not going to stop the fire, but we might be able to save a home,” he said.
A separate group of volunteers also spent time inside the Calwood Fire burn scar, removing charred and vulnerable trees, known as widowmakers, near burned homes.
“Trying to take those out and let the crews come in and start rebuilding for these families,” Laceby said.
With another tough fire season ahead, the Browns are now more prepared, but not immune to the changing reality in areas like the Lefthand Canyon.
“We’re about 10 notches safer since Team Rubicon has been up here,” Craig said.
“They tell us it’s inevitable fire will come, so we’ll be more prepared,” Mary said.
Throughout this whole process, Team Rubicon has worked with the fire chiefs in the area as well as local other leaders. Volunteers will be back out here Sunday, as well as the next two weekends.MORE NEWS: Denver Weather: Rain Today Before Unusual Mid-May Snow Tonight
If you are interested in volunteering with the organization or donating, you can visit the group’s website.