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San Juan County faces a high fire burn threat, making it crucial to prioritize fire prevention and preparedness. The recent removal of trees by OPALCO was done for this reason alone and we must accept it.


Firewise is a strategy to address the escalating frequency and severity of wildfires in the region. By reducing fuel load through vegetation management, the community not only improves economic and ecological sustainability but also enhances forest health and resiliency. These efforts mitigate property damage, lower firefighting costs, and promote ecosystem health and biodiversity.


The concept of firewise seems to be at odds with DCD’s current interpretation of our county codes.  In other words, firewise says we should remove fuel load close to our homes – but this may trigger enforcement action from the Planning Department.  Protecting our homes should not require arborist reports, mitigation plans and five years of monitoring.  This is a code problem which must be addressed by the legislators – i.e. the County Council.


Making San Juan County a Firewise Community is essential for building a safer, more prepared, and resilient community. By embracing Firewise practices, reducing fuel load, and fostering community collaboration, the county can better protect lives, property, and natural resources from wildfires.

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