Articles,  Fire Mitigation Events,  Mitigation

Saws & Slaws October News

Saws and Slaws has been busy in August and September with legacy events. Much tree thinning and slash removal was accomplished at both events. At the August event, we worked in the Copperdale neighborhood on two neighboring properties. The properties had been marked by Boulder’s Wildfire Partners which makes it easy for us to target the trees we need to remove for effective mitigation.

At the September event, we completed our last mitigation event for the summer 2021 season, and it went great! We were able to mitigate around 1.5 acres and remove roughly 80 cubic yards of slash at a property in the Lyttle Dowdle neighborhood. Thanks to all that came out to help! We love our volunteers!

Make your mitigation impactful:
One of the best things you can do to mitigate your surroundings from fires is the removal of dead trees. Dead tree removal helps to thin the dense forests in the wildland urban interface. They are like big hot matchbooks just waiting to ignite into an out of control fire event. In 2017, the Coloradoan estimates there were 834 million dead trees in Colorado’s 10,000 square miles of sub alpine forests. University of Colorado, Boulder research indicates drought and climate change has tripled these deaths since the 1980s. A result of drought, beetles, and fire suppression from decades past, removing them holds a lot of equity in the severity of a fire.

Safety Tip of the Month:
On that note, dead trees are different! When you are felling standing dead trees, know that they don’t behave the same as when felling live or dying trees. They often have loose limbs or unstable tops. Even if it doesn’t have a “widow maker” when you start, sometimes your cutting activity will cause a piece from the top to break and fall while you are directly next to the tree. (Always wear a helmet!) Sometimes the core is rotten and holding wood you are counting on unexpectedly isn’t there. Consequently, it is especially important to identify multiple escape plans in case the tree doesn’t fall in the direction you intend. Ensure your escape routes are clear of tripping hazards too. To check for rotten cores before you cut, you can “sound” the tree by hitting it hard with a mallet or the back of an axe and listen to the sound it makes. If it doesn’t sound solid or if the vibration is not quickly absorbed, then there likely is some rotting in the trunk. Be sure to hit a few different spots on the tree as the rot can be in one section and not another (which can also guide you to a better place to cut.) Even if a dead tree still has branches, they often don’t have the weight any more that will lean a tree into a directional fall. I find an open face cut tends to work a little bit better on a dead tree and light tension from rope works better than pounding on a dead tree with wedges. As always, if you aren’t comfortable felling a particular tree, then don’t do it! Save it for the professionals.

Upcoming Events
At press time, some of these events haven’t been finalized, but we want to make sure you are aware of them. Watch our website and Facebook page for updates.

Field Visit: Mitigation Treatments in Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest
October 2021 – Kelly Dahl Campground
Numerous forest treatments have been completed by the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest near Kelly Dahl over the past decade. Join Forester Kevin Zimlinghaus and Zone Fuels Assistant Fire Management Officer Chad Buser to learn about lodgepole pine forest treatments that take into account wildfire behavior, forest structure and diversity, wildlife and watershed protection. We will see what different methods of treatment (hand vs. mechanical thinning, prescribed fire) look like and learn why certain methods are prescribed for certain areas. The visit will be a moderately strenuous walk (less than one mile over uneven ground) through three treatment areas.

Pile Building Workshop
November 2021 – Coal Creek Canyon
Learn to build proper slash piles that burn efficiently, effectively and safely. Slash pile burning can be an efficient, safe and cost-effective slash removal and fuel reduction method. This workshop is open to Front Range landowners desiring to learn proper slash pile building by doing it. Experienced wildland firefighters from the Ember Alliance will be presenting, so bring your questions about forest management, thinning, pile construction and pile burning. Be sure to invite your friends and neighbors in the area looking to learn about slash pile burning, too. Protect your home and your forests through winter time slash disposal.

Camp Eden and Copperdale Wildfire Risk Reduction Workshop
Beginning November 2021 – Coal Creek Canyon
We are seeking participants in a series of workshops to collaborate with neighbors to identify local community values around wildfire risk concerns, understand how local issues fit into the larger social and ecological landscape and work toward reimagining a community more resilient to wildfire. The conversations will be facilitated by local community members and regional experts based on the interests of the participants. We hope to come out of the series with agreed upon priorities driven by the values of the community and actionable steps forward to improve the health and safety of our community and forests. For this first series, we are focusing on the Copperdale and Camp Eden neighborhoods, but all are welcome to join the discussion. See ad in this issue of the Mountain Messenger for more information

2022 Season Applications Now Open
Saws and Slaws is now taking applications for neighborhood events for 2022. Spaces are filling up, so now is the time to talk to your neighbors about getting on the schedule for summer and fall. Get out, connect with those in your proximity, and vow to get your properties safer and healthier. Got questions? Call Us! (303) 642-0273. .

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!