City Cuts Down Trees To Prevent Wildfires

By  | 

Fire officials say one of the reasons the fires in California are burning so large is because the area has not been mitigated for years. In Colorado Springs, the city forestry department started doing fire mitigation in city open spaces two years ago and have treated some 120 acres of wildland.

It's all to prevent a fire like the one in California from happening here.

Right now the city is focusing on Stratton Open Space on the city's west side. Three-hundred acres, near neighborhoods where a fire would be catastrophic.

Acre by acre a crew of three is cutting down trees. "We are emulating fire in the shape of our chain saws, were taking out trees that would normally burn in a fire ecosystem," said Dennis Will, City Forester.

Will says this area hasn't burned in more than 150 years and is extremely overgrown. "We should have about 100 trees per acre, what’s growing here now is about 200 to 300," Will said.

Without mitigation a fire in the area would likely burn out of control. “There would be little opportunity to fight it, we would just have to stand on the sidelines and watch it burn," Will said.

More than 44,000 homes in Colorado Springs are in the wildfire urban interface meaning they are near areas where a wildfire could burn.

The TOPS (Trails and Open Space) Forest Management Crew is one of the groups on the chopping block if the mill levy increase does not pass in November.