Movers and shakers when it comes to inspiring a movement in the Majestic Park subdivision, Bonnie Sumner, along with Curt and Susan Grina, transformed a daunting task into a neighborhood fuel-mitigation project.
Chopping, thinning and clearing trees and debris in the 540-acre subdivision, the neighbors were part of a larger project to provide defensible space along their own as well as the surrounding land. Their work complements that of the U.S. Forest Service in the Pike National Forest.
Working with Dave Root, assistant district forester for the Colorado State Forest Service, the neighbors achieved recognition this month as a Firewise Community.
“I think Firewise designation is about the community working together for fuel mitigation,” Curt Grina said.
As the three galvanized their neighbors, so, too, did the adjoining property owners join in the project. “We have fuel mitigation along the Sturman Industries property, through Majestic Park and down to Aspen Valley Ranch,” Grina said. “We've created a good strong fuel break.”
With its steep terrain in the woods above Woodland Park, the subdivision is particularly vulnerable to fire. “We all made the decision to live here, despite the fire danger,” Sumner said. “We have to make this property as safe as we possibly can.”
After the Hayman Fire in June 2002, Curt Grina chaired the committee that developed the county's Community Wildfire Protection Plan, which is a model for other subdivisions. At the same time, Grina bought a large chipper machine to clear away tree limbs and other potentially-dangerous debris from his property.
When Sumner moved into Majestic Park from Wisconsin, she used her fear of catastrophic fire seek the Firewise designation, which is where the hard work comes in.
While the designation recognizes a movement toward clearing potentially dangerous fuel, the the future is just around the corner. “The work doesn't stop,” Sumner said. “Trees keep growing and projects can be nibbled away at.”