Glade Park preps for fire season

Looking out from the Glade Park Fire Department several miles to the southwest, you can still see scarred land from the last major wildfire.

As the Hayman Fire and Coal Seam Fire ravaged other parts of Colorado in the summer of 2002, half of Glade Park was evacuated during the Dierich Creek Fire, which burned roughly 2,600 acres. Glade Park Fire Chief Rich Trotter recalls the logistical nightmare evacuating half of the town while the other half were phoning friends and family on the valley floor, asking them to haul trailers up for more anticipated evacuations.

Glade Park averages about 30 to 35 smaller-scale fires each summer, but has seen nothing on the scale of the 2002 blaze, Trotter said.

“We’ve been pretty lucky the last seven years not to have anything large,” Trotter said. “That’s very unusual for us.”

With luck, moisture and bit a planning, Trotter hopes to continue the trend.

Some 23 residents turned out Tuesday night at the Glade Park Fire Department for a presentation on steps to take toward reducing wildfire danger their properties. They also listened in on Bureau of Land Management fire fuels reduction proposals, still early in planning stages.

Fire officials said they were entertaining enhancement of natural fire barriers, including thinning out trees in various areas of concern. Funding sources and time frames for such work were not clear.

Little Park Road and 8 4/10 Road, areas of heavy tree growth, are being eyed for such projects, Trotter said.

By thinning trees adjacent to certain roads, they’d hamper fire’s ability to spread and ensure evacuation routes stay open during a crisis, officials said.

BLM fire specialist Lathan Johnson, who worked last summer’s destructive Pine Ridge Fire near DeBeque, said they would need private landowner support in Glade Park to undertake such efforts.

“Where we have interest is where we want to work,” Johnson said.

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