City receives fire mitigation funding

Published: Oct. 19, 2022 at 10:56 PM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - A major step forward to keep flames from tearing through Grand Junction neighborhoods.

Grand Junction Fire Department’s Wildland Team, along with the Parks and Recreation Forestry Division, completed a four-day project along the lower end of the No Thoroughfare bike path, and thanks to a grant, teams can clear even more land.

The $184,000 state grant means overgrown areas can be cleared before the next fire season. The department of corrections will send a team of 10 to 20 inmates to do the job.

It will take about 17 weeks on the Gunnison and Colorado River corridors. The project will cover 70 acres to protect critical infrastructure and areas with a history of devastating fires.

“As the drought continues, we as a fire department and as a city recognize that we really need to work in the prevention of uncharacteristically hot wildfires in our community,” said Ellis Thompson-Ellis, Community Outreach Specialist. “And so some of that involves fuel reduction projects. We’ve just completed our first as a department with our wildland team and our parks department working together on that, and this is one of the first major grants that we’ve gotten to expand the impact of those kinds of projects here in Grand Junction.”

The teams will be using chainsaws and chippers to remove the invasive plants. That reduces the intensity of a wildfire. The fire department tells me mitigation projects wouldn’t be possible for the next five to 10 years without the grant.

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