EVW conducts extensive landscape-scale fuel reduction throughout Eagle County. These projects focus on protecting homes, infrastructure, and watersheds by lessening fire behavior and creating a tactical advantage for firefighting efforts.
A secondary benefit of proper mitigation is the restoration of ecosystems helping to reset many areas back to a normal fire regime. EVW intends to promote a more stable and resilient wildland environment throughout Eagle County.
EVW uses a robust decision-making process to determine where fuel mitigation should occur. The following items are criteria that are weighed in the decision-making process.
Likelihood of Wildfire
Proximity to the WUI
Types of Fuels Treatment
Thinning areas or thinning units have many benefits, both to reduce the threat of severe wildfire and eco-sytem management. Thinning units typically follow the same scope in most fuel types; however, EVW does write a fuel plan for each area specific to that fuel type and the overall health stand. Thinning may be done through mechanical treatment or by hand.
Most thinning units target small trees, brush, dead, sick, and dying fuels, with overall crown spacing. By reducing the competition for natural resources the older more mature trees and brush will become healthier leading to overall stand improvement.
Prescribed Fire (RX)
EVW performs broadcast prescribed fired to help reduce the dead fuel load and help maintain a healthy ecosystem. Prescribed fire is an excellent tool to aid in the reduction of invasive plants and weeds. The benefits of a good prescribed fire far outweigh the risk of fire on the landscape. EVW meets or exceeds the national standard for prescribed fire best practices and will only introduce fire under specific conditions. Remember, fire on our terms is better than fire on its terms.
Piles of slash and debris are often produced in the thinning process, or the laying dead material may be stacked into burn piles. This method of fuel reduction is used when mechanical treatment is unpractical or the material can not be used. Piles are generally burned in the winter months with snow on the ground.
Tactical Fuel Breaks
A "fuel break" is different than the term "fire break", the primary difference is a "fuel break" is not cut to mineral soil, it retains grass and would be considered a living ecosystem. The term "fire break" is used in the event firefighters create a fire line that is cut to mineral soil, a "fire break" may be used in the event of a wildfire, not mitigation.
Tactical fuel breaks are placed on ridges and near values at risk, such as homes. Firefighters can use the fuel break as a tactical advantage to work from in the event of a quickly escalating wildfire event.