Articles,  Mitigation

Saws & Slaws May News

Back in the Saddle (and ready to go!) Saws & Slaws (short for Chainsaws & Coleslaws) is heading into its 12th season! We are so excited to get back to some seasonal fire mitigation and we hope you are ready to help us! For those of you who are unfamiliar with our different styles of events, I will lay it out once again. Each summer we try to schedule 5 “Legacy” events. These are generally large events where more than one property has trees to take down and slash to remove or chip in place. We bring between 20-30 volunteers in for 4 hours, Sawyers, Swampers, Loaders, and Truck/trailer drivers. We can get an extraordinary amount of work done in 4 hours. We try to work smarter, not harder, because we are extremely interested in safety. When folks get tired, that’s when accidents happen. We work hard to make sure everyone is following PPE and safety protocols, staying hydrated and focused. We even try to pass around some sort of snack (cold watermelon is the BEST!) at 10 am to give everyone a chance to rest. After we work together from 8-12, we stop and partake in a Potluck meal together. This is my favorite part! After that much effort, we always have a lot to admire and ooh and ahh about, and the food always tastes SO GOOD after hard work 🙂 There is always such a difference in the forest! Structures feel safer, trees get less crowded and healthier, and our neighbors praise us for helping to keep them all a bit safer in the event of a wildfire. When we are not doing Legacy events, we try to help whole neighborhoods by offering a Curbside Chipping event. In this case, we drive around a particular neighborhood with the enormous chipper we usually rent from RMRP Enterprises. Neighbors are encouraged to pile their slash (that they may have collected over the year) and stage it close to the road or a driveway. By doing this, we are able to affect many homes in a relatively short time, and process a lot of forest fire fuel. The cost is reasonable because you only pay for the chipping time you use (collectively we have to make a 3 hour minimum but many participants makes that easy). We also like to help out during Jeffco Slash Days. Sometimes people have slash but no way to haul it to the slash collection site. We are able to offer our pick up trucks and trailers to help people clean out their properties. Another way we can help is to offer “Small Jobs/Sawyer Teams” for folks that need help with trees and mitigation but do not need 4 hours with 30 volunteers. These projects are assessed individually and we respond with the right amount of volunteers for the job. The last kind of program we currently work on is the Firewood Project. Since a natural by-product of our work is logs, and sometimes the property owners don’t want or need their logs, we take the opportunity to process the wood and sell or donate it to the community. We have not proven to be consistently motivated to make this happen recently and for that, we apologize! There are just a couple of pitfalls to running a volunteer organization and one of them is “herding butterflies” 🙂
Saws and Slaws is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and we accept donations for much of our work. We feel strongly that mitigation is important and we are able to offer We are involved in Colorado Gives Day and we try to apply for grants when possible. If you are interested in joining our leadership team, please let us know! Our email address is
By the time you are reading this, we will have (weather permitting) just completed our Chainsaw Safety Class! Roughly 10 new sawyers will have begun their illustrious journeys to cutting down trees in the safest manner possible. We are also gearing up for our upcoming event: Jane’s Event. On Saturday, May 7th we will be working along Twin Spruce Rd, clearing out standing and downed dead trees. We hope to remove slash piles and help residents make their properties, as well as the road egress, safer. On May 22 we will be hosting a collaborative effort between residents, the Boulder Watershed Collective and S&S: Copperdale & Camp Eden Neighborhood Wildfire Risk Reduction Objectives Meeting! Please join us Sunday May 22nd — 2 – 4 pm– Camp Eden camp to continue the process of figuring out what our neighborhood needs to protect the things we care about and address the specifiedconcerns around a wildfire’s impacts on our neighborhood, we are hosting a workshop to brainstorm objectives based on the information we’ve gathered thus far. See full page ad in this issue for more details or contact Jody Dickson,, 303-588-6639. This is an important session that you won’t want to miss! Be sure to invite your neighbors, too!
We have almost rounded out our summer calendar but we want to hear from you! There is so much to learn! If you have a tree that is close to power lines, then United Power will pay to have it taken down. There is no cost to you for this service! If your trees are too technical or just plain hazardous for a Saws & Slaws sawyer to take down safely, we will be glad to suggest some pros for you. We can connect you with foresters, county personnel, Wildfire Partners in Boulder County, etc. We are well connected and annoyingly interested in a “Stronger Community through a Healthier Forest”. Join us! We need you and we’ll feed you! (720) 326-7739,

Featured Volunteer: Eric Geil has been volunteering with Saws & Slaws since He got involved after hearing about us in this publication. Eric is a hardworking guy with a great sense of humor. We have enjoyed working with him! Let’s learn a little bit more about Eric:
What’s your favorite Tree? I enjoy various pine trees so I really don’t have a favorite
What neighborhood do you live in? I live just south of Copperdale on Brook road between Ridge road.
If you had to evacuate right now what would you grab? I would take my laptop probably a couple week’s worth of clothes, ID’s and my checkbook.
How did you find out about saws and slaws? I found out about Saws and Slaws through Facebook if I remember right.
What motivates you to devote your time to fire mitigation with Saws and Slaws? I think fire mitigation is important since I grew up in a rural area of the Bay Area. (In-between Concord and Livermore) where brush fires could be a major concern.
What’s the best thing you’ve eaten at the Potluck? It is hard to say since almost all the food is great at potlucks.
What’s your favorite thing about Coal Creek Canyon? I enjoy the rural setting and the fact that most people up here are friendlier than you will find in the cities.

Safety Tip of the Month: Clear out ladder fuels. What are ladder fuels? It is anything combustible that can carry a fire up from the ground to the branches and ultimately crown of a tree. It can be tall grass, shrubs or smaller trees. It can be wood or slash piles. It can be a fence post or a dog house. It can even be low branches on the tree itself. A low burning/ground fire may not be intense enough to start the trunk and tree on fire. If we can keep the fire out of the canopy, then we have a better chance to control or contain it. Thus, removing ladder fuels should be one of the first things you do when mitigating around your home. When pruning a tree, it is recommended that you remove all branches up to 10 feet in height up the trunk, but no greater than 1/3 of the total tree height in order to protect the health of the tree. Keep grasses shorter than 6″ as flame lengths can be three times the height of the fuel that is burning. Protect your structure, your favorite trees, our forest, and our firefighters by removing ladder fuels from under your trees.