The forests in Hinsdale County have a history of wildfire.  If you
have spent time wandering through the San Juan mountains,
you may have noticed charred stumps and trees scattered
throughout these hills.  Wildfire is a part of the natural cycle;
shaping our forests for thousands of years.  With huge tracts of
remote land, we can’t possibly suppress all fires; nor would we
want to if we are to keep forest ecosystems vibrant and
healthy.  However, if we are to live alongside wildfire, we must
protect ourselves and property from the devastating effects fire
may bring.  It’s not a matter of if we are going to see a wildfire in
Hinsdale County, it’s a matter of when and how we will prepare
for and manage this coming event.

Over the summer of 2010 a Community Wildfire Protection Plan
(CWPP) was developed to address our county’s need to better
understand and prepare for a wildfire event.  A Core Team made
up from Colorado State Forest Service, BLM, USFS, Hinsdale
County’s Sheriff, EMS, Fire Department, Public Health and local
resident oversaw this process while working with Jim Webb,
certified forester who put together the plan.  The CWPP includes
information on response to wildfire, hazard identification and
mitigation action, community preparedness, safety zones,
structure protection and much more.  There also are maps
identifying areas and structures in Hinsdale County that are at

We are fortunate in Hinsdale County to have a wonderful mosaic
of forests.   As you look around you may see aspen, spruce/fir,
mixed conifer and other types of forests.  Unlike many counties
in Colorado, we won’t likely see all of these types of forests
decline at once.  Currently, we are seeing large tracts of forests
dying from spruce bark beetle attack.  This infestation is moving
closer to Lake City at an alarming rate.  We have also seen
pockets of Mountain Pine Beetle in and around Lake City in
Ponderosa Pines.   Other forest insects and disease are also
present here in Hinsdale County. Although it is difficult for most
of us to see our trees die and forests change in such dramatic
ways, this is a natural process and new trees and forests will
replace the old.  

Given that all residents and property owners in Hinsdale County
will be affected by a wildfire event, we hope that you will take
interest and the time in learning how you might better prepare
yourself and our community.  Copies of the CWPP are available
at the Lake City Fire Department, Hinsdale County Administrative
Office and the Lake City Public Library.  

For more information please contact
Hinsdale County Administration at (970) 944-2225
Ready Set Go
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Community Wildfire Protection Plan