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In this part of the world, wildfire is our greatest natural threat to life and property. Over the years, a lot of groups and individuals have received attention for their efforts to reduce the impact of wildfire on our lives. Many more have aided and served this community without recognition or publicity.
I recently attended a two day Wildfire Workshop in Ignacio. It was hosted by the San Juan Resource, Conservation and Development Council. The focus was on safe living in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) and the International WUI Code. Many municipalities have accepted all or parts of this code to help foster safe building and development practices in populated areas adjacent to lands that are subject to wildland fire, also known as the WUI.
About 45 people attended this workshop to learn about and discuss action plans to deal with the reality of residents living in wildfire prone areas. There were representatives from many of the fire protection districts in Southwestern Colorado. FireWise had a strong presence there representing Archuleta, La Plata and Montezuma counties with volunteer Ambassadors, Coordinators and the Executive Director. There was no press coverage of this important event and participants were there to learn and contribute their ideas. I do not think many people are aware of how engaged the Archuleta County Commissioners and staff are with wildfire issues here in our community. In stark contrast to neighboring counties, nine Archuleta County government representatives attended this workshop. All three members of the Board of County Commissioners were there; Clifford Lucero, Steve Wadley and Michael Whiting. Bentley Henderson and Todd Starr, represented the Administration and Attorney’s Departments. John Ruyle brought his expertise as the Building Official. Thad McCain and Christina Marquart of the Office of Emergency Management attended. Roberta Tolan, the Archuleta County CSU Extension agent was another contributor.
In an era when there is so much media attention focused on divisiveness, I want to thank the commissioners and staff of our county for their efforts to come together and concentrate on a very serious issue for all of us who live or own property here. Thank you all and keep up the good work.