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by Marc McClish

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The St. Anton’s Event was great as much for the perfect weather as all the mitigation that was done.  45 volunteers mitigated five properties. On four of those properties we helped homeowners with their zones one and two wildfire mitigation. For the first time in Nederland Saws and Slaws history, we had a team devoted to removing the brush around a house as marked by Wildfire Partners. It broke from our traditional roll of just dropping trees, and provided the 94 year old homeowner with much needed help to retain his insurance. On two of the properties we worked on community fire protection and forest health by reducing the fuel load of dense and overgrown forest. S&S mitigated about 2.5 acres of forest with this treatment. A special thanks to the 8 Americorps Volunteer sawyers that came out for the morning http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps.

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Lessons Learned:
1. Mentoring: The fuel reduction treatment areas provided a great mentoring opportunity for the S212 sawyers to work one on one with our S&S trained sawyers. Anytime mentoring like that can take place, it’s a win for the S&S sawyers, the overall safety of our events, and the accumulated knowledge of S&S as a whole. We were lucky enough to have at least one S212 sawyer paired with each S&S sawyer.
2. Staging Slash: I created a sample slash pile next to the sign-in area before the event. We used this as a demonstration pile for showing swampers what a property staged pile looks like (with butts to the road) and what works well for preparing a pile for chipping. We’ve had some problems in the past with slash being thrown in huge piles that were near impossible to pull apart for chipping. I’m happy to say that a 3 minute overview in the morning resulted in great slash staging at this event.

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