Q: Can I get SAWS to do fuel reduction work on my property?
A: Maybe. Because of the enormity of the fuel load on Sugarloaf and the limited amount of mitigation that can be accomplished in our 5 or 6 half-day events per year, we prioritize properties based on their strategic value to the Sugarloaf community.
Q: What factors are considered in the identification of target parcels?
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 highest priority target parcels are in these areas. In addition to the neighborhood-wide CWPP ratings, we look at each property in terms of the number of nearby households/potential project beneficiaries, fuel density, slope, and adequacy of resident egress/firefighter ingress routes.
Q: My house is not in one of the highest risk areas of Sugarloaf, so why should I volunteer at SAWS mitigation events?
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 areas that we target are at Sugarloaf's lower elevations.
Q: Is SAWS the same as Saws & Slaws?
A: "Saws & Slaws" is a registered trade 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. Click here for an approximate cost breakdown.
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 nearly 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.