Local News

Fire mitigation makes mulch pile sky high

Tree mitigation at record high in Black Forest

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - Trucks waited in long lines Saturday to unload brush and trees from fire mitigation projects underway around Black Forest.

Black Forest's Slash and Mulch Program is a wildfire mitigation and recycling program that's been around for 20 years.

People dumped truckloads of brush and trees at the site for free. The debris is turned in to mulch. This year's mulch pile is around two-stories tall.

"That's the highest I've ever seen it," said volunteer Chuck Lidderdale.

This year, the site has become a community hot spot on the weekends.

"Waldo canyon started getting people's attention and the lines starting getting longer," said Lidderdale. "This year, as you saw, they go down around the corner at times.  They disappear over the far hill."

D.C. Belanger was making trips to the site Saturday as he helped a friend clear charred trees off the friend's family's property. Belanger was covered in ash as he tossed charred branches out of the truck.

"It looks like a war zone really.  It's pretty devastating," said Belanger. "There is a lot of burnt trees around. The house is devastated. We're just out there clearing things off."

The fire burned less than 10 yards from Tim Parker's home in Black Forest. He said fire mitigation saved his home from the flames.

"My wife and I spent last summer doing that and we could tell the parts that we had done well, the fire didn't get in there. The parts we had to do this summer, we could tell we hadn't gotten there yet and look how close it got in," said Parker.

Parker made almost 40 trips to the site last year. This year, he's already made 12 trips.

"We want to make sure the house is OK, but also we're not a fire source for the neighbors. If you can be a fire break for them, that's even better," said Parker.

The site is located near the corner of Herring Road and Shoup Road. It's open May 4 to Sept. 15.

For hours and more information, visit: http://www.bfslash.org/schedule.php

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