COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Broadmoor Fire Department said Wednesday it's prepared as it can be for the upcoming fire season.
The Colorado Spring Fire Department outlined areas it's most concerned about during this summer's wildfire season. It highlighted the wildland-urban interface. It's areas where forest meets neighborhood.
Almost all of Broadmoor Fire Department Chief Noel Perran's fire district falls into the wildland-urban interface. The Broadmoor Hotel has spent more than $1 million in fire mitigation. The Fire Department has paired with the hotel, homeowner associations and neighborhoods to mitigate properties against wildfires.
"There used to be a tree here, a tree here, a tree here," said Broadmoor Fire Department firefighter Michael Garman as he toured mitigation work at a neighborhood park. "Now there is more open space. There is not as much fuel for the fire to move and spread so quickly."
Perran was appointed fire chief in 2000. He has worked in the fire service for 36 years. He said fire prevention has been top-of-mind in this area for a long time.
"We identified way back in the late 1990s that we are prone to wildfires and we identified that and we made that our priority mission to be prepared for wildfires. We were at the forefront of it then," said Perran.
He said the Waldo Canyon Fire in June 2012 and the Black Forest Fire in June 2013 reinforced the importance of fire mitigation.
"I've seen more fire in the last two years then I have seen in the last 34 years. To put it in perspective, we are in a cycle of greater fire danger now," said Perran.
He said his department is as prepared as it can be for wildfire season. However, he said there is always work to be done. He is pleased with efforts put forth by the hotel and neighborhoods to protect this area from wildfires.
Fire mitigation work is needed at higher elevations on Cheyenne Mountain, however Perran said it's impractical and nearly impossible to carry out.
Perran and Garman pointed completed mitigation projects during a tour Wednesday. The two firefighters said well-mitigated properties remove ground fuels and branches below six feet to prevent fires from getting into the canopy. Also, they pointed to open spaces left in the canopy and on the ground as indicators of proper mitigation.
If fire did strike Cheyenne Mountain, fire trucks would be able to refill at Penrose reservoir on the Broadmoor's property. The Broadmoor Fire Department said thanks to mitigation work in the wildland-urban interface, it hopes that day doesn't come.
If you're interested in checking out the Colorado Springs Fire Department's Wildfire Hazard Rating System map, click here: