A committee tasked with reducing wildfire risk in Colorado Springs has identified several priority areas for mitigation. That includes Austin Bluffs Open Space northeast of UCCS, Fisher Canyon in the city's southwest foothills, Cedar Heights on the city's western border, Stratton Open Space in north Cheyenne Canyon, and another property near Blodgett Open Space.
The goal is to try and create a buffer throughout Colorado Springs that might slow — or even stop — a fire from reaching the nearly 150 neighborhoods that fall in the wildland-urban interface or WUI. That's anywhere human development meets nature.
The Wildfire Mitigation Advisory Committee already has a plan to deal with close to 90 acres of land on the Fisher Canyon property. Ashley Whitworth, Wildfire Mitigation Program Administrator with the Colorado Springs Fire Department, said a contractor for the $500,000 project will be named soon.
"The fires we've seen here lately have shown that the work we're doing is working," she said. "Especially the mitigation work on the city's north side and western boundary. Without that, the outcome could have been different."
In May, there were three fires on the same day in different parts of Colorado Springs, each resulting in evacuations. One person was killed in a fire at a mobile home park north of downtown.
Whitworth said the committee is looking to secure grant funding in the spring to help pay for projects elsewhere.
Voters approved the mitigation committee last year, allowing the city to spend up to $20 million in retained tax money for the fire mitigation program.
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