Articles,  Fire Mitigation Events,  Mitigation

Saws & Slaws April News

Keeping it Local by Jody Dickson
We are SO blessed as a community to have multiple dedicated efforts around wildfire mitigation. Saws and Slaws is just one of the many groups operating in Coal Creek Canyon on the shared task of making our community safer and more resilient through a wildfire event. Going from east to west, at the mouth of the canyon, the Blue Mountain Forest Stewardship Initiative has done amazing work and has completed the tasks for the Blue Mountain section of our Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The Crescent Park Community Fire Protection Agency has just formed and started doing work last year to address the specific needs of the Crescent Park and Spruce Canyon neighborhoods. We have a similar effort that is not a formal group that is working in the Camp Eden and Copperdale neighborhoods to try to figure out what needs to happen in that section of our community. There is a Pinecliffe Association working to do some critical work around the Pinecliffe Community which as you can imagine is greatly impacted by proximity to the railroad tracks. Last but very not least on the West side is Axe and Snax which is operating very similarly to Saws and Slaws in the Rollinsville and Beaver Creek areas all the way to Central City. They are holding education events, mitigation events, as well as distributing firewood throughout their service area.
As you can see, there are so many ways to participate in very targeted wildfire mitigation activity in our community, and we need ALL of it. I will always remember asking one volunteer who worked professionally as a forester about the potential impacts on his business of our volunteer-based activity. He answered plain and clear “There is plenty of work for all of us!” I also very much appreciate that the needs and priorities of one area of the canyon may not be the same for another. The diversity of these groups and this activity makes it possible for us to be very specific about what we needs to happen in one area over another.
Alongside the fire departments, county governments, state and US forest services, United Power, multiple conservation districts, watershed groups, and specific initiatives like Wildfire Partners, many representatives from these organizations have been meeting for just over a year to share each group’s activity, lessons learned, best practices, funding opportunities, and ask for help when needed. We all benefit when we share information across the different groups. I know there are communities out there that really want to see wildfire mitigation activity in their area, but struggle with finding the people to drive any effort. I think it speaks to how amazing the Coal Creek Canyon community is since we have so many that actively do this work. I suspect that even in my list above, I might have missed some! As I said at the beginning, we are blessed!!
Featured Volunteer – Dan Schulz
This month we are featuring Dan Schulz who has been volunteering with Saws & Slaws since 2015 when we hosted a curbside chipping event in his neighborhood. He took the chainsaw safety class the following year, and he has been a super-sawyer ever since! Officially, he is just a few hours short of hitting 100 hours of volunteering. To be honest, I suspect that he has reached at least 100 hours through informal events, too. (Fresh, clean, new t-shirt will be headed your way!) We are grateful for his long-time, sustained service to making our community safer and our forest healthier.

Let’s get to know Dan a little better…

What’s your favorite Tree? I would say Ponderosa. I have some old, and unique, trees on my property. And when I lived in Arizona we spent a lot of time in the Coconino National Forest, awesome stands of Ponderosa. My second favorite is one that falls where it is supposed to go when doing mitigation!!

What neighborhood do you live in? Crescent Park

If you had to evacuate right now what would you grab? Medications and the box of important papers. Depending on time, then some family heirlooms/collectibles, clothes, etc. We don’t have pets, so that is not an issue.

How did you find out about Saws & Slaws? We learned about it before we even owned the house. We were under contract and got invited to the neighborhood picnic in August. I knew a bunch of trees needed to come down around the house. We learned there was a neighborhood chipping event in October. I signed up and have been enjoying volunteering ever since.

What motivates you to devote your time to fire mitigation with Saws & Slaws? It adds to the sense of community that is here in the canyon. Obviously, I want to create defensible space around my house, but helping in the adjoining areas is good for the entire community. I love the work. And, as a kid growing up in small-town Wisconsin, whenever the tree trimming crew came through, and I heard the chain saws and chipper fire up, I was on my bike to watch. Now I get to do it, awesome!

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten at the Potluck? . We always have such great food, it’s hard to pick out a favorite. Potlucks are just that, a great spread of great family favorites. The hosts at the event are always so welcoming and appreciative of all the work that got accomplished.

What’s your favorite thing about Coal Creek Canyon? The privacy and camaraderie. Everyone is friendly, yet you have your own space. When an event comes up, people gather for a good time, or to pull together and support each other in times of disaster or tragedy. It is just an overall feeling of a great community spirit and caring people.

Thank you, Dan! We look forward to working alongside you again this summer!
Upcoming Events:
Chainsaw Skills & Safety Class – April 30 / May 1 – at press time, location is being finalized
This quality, hands-on training will give you the skills you need to effectively and safely use a chainsaw for forest health and property maintenance. Training will be presented in three parts: * Chainsaw Maintenance – cutting safely requires a well running saw. * Chainsaw Safety & Personal Protective Equipment – including things to watch out for while cutting. * Tree Felling & Cutting Skills – classroom review followed by field exercises.
As noted previously, taking this course or an equivalent one is necessary for being a sawyer at a Saws & Slaws event, but the content is just as important if you want to work on your own property.
The cost of the class is $250, but we are offering a limited number of subsidies for Coal Creek Canyon residents and people who commit to volunteering at Saws and Slaws events. If you qualify, then the cost for you will be $125 per person for the 2-day training. These fees help us cover the costs of the instructors and our insurance for the class, so your support is greatly appreciated! You can also work off the classroom fee with labor in our regular Saws & Slaws events! Ask Jody ( for more details.
Space is limited, so reserve your spot today. Links to sign-up are on our website and Facebook page, or just email us at
SAVE THE DATE: Saws & Slaws event – May 7th – Twin Spruce
It’s time to warm up our mitigation muscles!! Join us for our first regular season event in May (weather permitting) This event will be on steep terrain, so it’ll be important to have a lot of people so we don’t have to trek up and down the hills!
We have a few spots left in the season, so if you are interested in hosting an event in your neck of the woods email us at or call us at (720) 326-7739.
Safety Tip of the Month: Don’t wait for notifications to evacuate. If you don’t feel comfortable with a situation that is developing around your house, don’t wait for the emergency notifications before you start taking action. Gather the items on your emergency evacuation list, if you feel like there is time. If not, just leave. It may result that evacuation wasn’t necessary, but if you’re ready or even already evacuated before the notifications go out then you’ll be that much safer. (This one was shared by our very own fire chief at a recent meeting. Thanks, Chief Ball!)
Saws and Slaws is a 501(c)3 organization committed to Building Stronger Communities Through A Healthier Forest. Find out more at and Join Us!