Chaffee Chips

J.T. Shaver, forester with the Colorado State Forest Service, left, loads branches into a chipper during a Chaffee Chips event in Pine Ridge Estates in August. Also pictured is CSFS seasonal forester Josh Kuehn.

Homeowners in the Chalk Creek drainage created more than 160 piles of slash in preparation for the Chaffee Chips neighborhood fire mitigation event taking place this weekend.

Service partners will chip or haul slash piles to the landfill on Friday, Saturday and Sunday — the third of four fire mitigation events hosted by Chaffee Chips this year.

“We’ve seen growing participation with each event as more landowners work to cut and clear flammable vegetation from their home ignition zones,” said J.T. Shaver, a forester with the Colorado State Forest Service. 

Creating defensible space around structures improves forest health and helps prevent the spread of wildfire. Shaver estimates that about 80 homeowners piled slash in the Chalk Creek drainage.

Chaffee County Fire Protection District firefighters will work Friday on County Road 162 from west to east, loading four trailers at a time and hauling them to the landfill for slash to be chipped by a large grinder and used in landfill operations to bury trash. 

A CSFS chipper crew will tackle slash in Deer Valley Ranch, then move to Eagles Roost and Falcon Drive on Friday. 

Students from Colorado Firecamp will help Chaffee Fire load slash Saturday on County Road 291. The areas around County Road 289 and Chimney Rock, among others, are slated for Sunday.

“It’s possible we will need more time due to the volume of slash, so we ask that homeowners remain patient as we work to get every pile,” Shaver said. Homeowners are asked to help load their slash piles, if possible.

In its first year, Chaffee Chips is offered by Envision Forest Health Council partners to reduce the threat of wildfire in Chaffee County. Forty-one trailer loads of slash were hauled out of the Mesa Antero subdivision during the last event.

The program helps implement the Community Wildfire Protection Plan, which maps where to treat forest acreage for the highest community benefit. A third of the target areas are located on private property. 

The Chaffee Chips service is supported in-part by Chaffee Common Ground. Contact info@envisionchaffeecounty.org  to find out how to get involved in this community wildfire mitigation effort.

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