Q: Can I get SAWS to do fuel reduction work on my property? A: Probably not. Because of the enormity of the fuel load on Sugarloaf and the limited amount of mitigation that can be accomplished in our 6 half-day events per year, we – rather than landowners – select potential event properties based on their strategic location/value to the Sugarloaf community as a whole.
Q: What factors are considered in parcel targeting and who makes those selections? A: Neighborhoods with CWPP risk ratings of Extreme or Very High typically have steep, heavily wooded terrain and very narrow dirt roads that are tightly bordered by overgrown trees, with dense ground and ladder fuels. Our target parcels are in these areas. Hans Bickling (SLFPD Battalion Chief) and CB Bassity (local tree service professional) identify potential target properties based primarily on number of nearby households/potential project beneficiaries, fuel density, slope, and adequacy of resident egress/firefighter ingress routes.
Q: My house is not on one of the designated Very High or Extreme risk areas… why should I become involved with SAWS? A: Sugarloaf is a small, relatively tight-knit community of just 17 square miles and about 500 homes. Aside from the very important intangibles associated with that togetherness – the “community spirit” – is the equally important but more tangible reality that if your downslope neighbors’ houses burn, yours might soon be next. The inverse is much more positive: effectively mitigated properties below yours bode well for your home’s survival. Many of the most at-risk neighborhoods are at Sugarloaf’s lower elevations.
Q: Is SAWS the same as Saws & Slaws? A: “Saws & Slaws” is a registered trade and of The Environmental Group (TEG), a Golden-based nonprofit which is unaffiliated with SAWS. Yet it was TEG that over the past few years popularized 4-hour community mitigation events followed by potluck picnics, and inspired Sugarloaf residents – including SAWS founders – to hold similar events on Sugarloaf in 2013 and 2014. So, while SAWS is not “Saws & Slaws” per se, our mitigation events are based on the fun/effective/award-winning Saws & Slaws model and are called Saws & Slaws events.
Q: Exactly what services does SAWS provide to the landowner and how much do they cost? A: To overcome limited motivation and/or financial resources that might characterize owners of some of our target parcels, our mitigation services are bundled into a single package for one very low fee. For $250, an owner of a target parcel receives a Saws & Slaws event consisting of approximately 18 volunteers performing 4 hours of tree work, with slash chipping conducted the following week. Also included is a limited amount of professional tree service, if needed, to remove hazard trees or trees close to structures.
Q: SAWS pays a contractor to chip a lot of slash… what happens to the chips and who actually pays for the chipping? A: Chips are broadcast on the target property to a depth of no more than 4 inches (which does not significantly contribute to fire risk). SAWS has a Boulder County grant that we expect will cover all of our chipping costs. Note that our grant is separate from SLFPD’s Boulder County chipping grant that partially subsidizes up to 5 hours of chipping for any Sugarloaf landowner who requests it.
Fresh air, fun, fellowship, and feelin' great about making our community a little safer!
Laura, Brax, Fred, Lauren
Our partners: AEC Trust, Sugarloaf Fire Protection District, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Wildfire Partners, and Sugarloaf residents.