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Wildfire FAQ

Q: What is "wildfire mitigation," and does it work? 

Wildfire mitigation refers to actions that minimize destructive effects of a fire. A few examples are prescribed fire, mastication (mulching up hazard vegetation), thinning trees and brush, goat grazing, eliminating "ladder fuels," and integrating natural barriers and other forms of defensible space.

And yes, it works! Watch this video from the US forest service to learn more.

Q: How did the WCAF start? 

In 2021, a group of concerned citizens and stakeholders came together to brainstorm the best way to handle the ever-increasing wildfire threat in our area. By partnering with Aspen Fire, the Wildfire Community Action Fund was born to foster community participation in wildfire prevention, preparedness, and mitigation at both neighborhood and landscape scales. We are prioritizing projects based on risk assessments and using input from local stakeholders and partner agency experts to build a fire adapted community and resilient ecosystem.

Q: Who is the WCAF working with? 

In addition to homeowners and local HOAs on a neighborhood scale, we are collaborating across agencies and jurisdictions to coordinate wildfire response strategy, prevention, and mitigation at the landscape scale.

Aspen Fire is proud to partner with the US Forest Service, Colorado State Forest Service, the City of Aspen, Pitkin County, Eagle County, Garfield County, Gunnison County, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, Aspen Valley Land Trust, Fire Adapted Colorado, Roaring Fork Fire, Carbondale Fire, Glenwood Springs Fire, and others to collaboratively plan and implement fuels reduction.

Q: Aren't wildfires natural? 

While lightning strikes can cause wildfires, 90% of wildfires are human caused. In recent human history, fires were immediately put out to protect lives and save assets. This "fire suppression" technique disrupted natural wildfire cycles and allowed hazardous levels of flammable materials to build up on the landscape.

Q: I live in town, not the forest! Do I still need to prepare? 

Hot embers can travel a mile through the air and start new ignition sites on any flammable materials, including roofs, leaves in gutters, and brush or other debris on the ground. Fires don't pay attention to property lines or jurisdictions, which means that we should treat our wildfire defense and planning as a team effort too.

Q: How do we know wildfires are on the rise? 

All top 20 of the largest wildfires in Colorado have occured in the last 20 years. The top 3 wildfires have occured in the last 3 years.

According to data provided by the National Interagency Coordination Center, more than 3.2 million acres of forest burned in wildfires across the country on average between 1983 and 2000. Between 2001 and 2020, that average jumped to more than 7 million acres - over 10,977 square miles - and the only three recorded years with more than 10 million acres burned have all occurred since 2015. (Sawyer D'Argonne, Aspen Times)

Q: Who do I contact to learn more about mitigation in my neighborhood? 

Please contact Ali Hager, Director of Community Wildfire Resilience, with any questions or comments: