COLORADO SPRINGS — The Colorado Springs Fire Department is seeing record participation in its wildfire mitigation program this summer. Mitigation is always encouraged, but this year there is misuse of the program happening and it is causing crews to fall behind schedule.
"We don’t want to discourage anybody from doing mitigation work, but this is also why we are behind because homeowners are putting storm damage stuff that necessarily isn’t mitigation work,” said, Ashley Whitworth, the Wildfire Mitigation Administrator at CSFD.
CSFD added more money to the mitigation program this year. It allowed the addition of a third chipping crew.
Despite the additional resources, wildfire mitigation chipping crews are overwhelmed by how much debris has been left behind.
This year, 2,300 homes have been serviced compared to last year's 1,800 homes.
The increase of material removed is far higher. It is more than double what it was last year. The number has topped 700 tons this year, compared to around 300 tons at this time a year ago.
Crews can tell debris piles include more than wildfire mitigation material. It appears a lot of it is damage, likely from the windstorm last December or the heavy snow that devastated yards last May.
For now, CSFD leaders want to stick with the honor system. They are pointing out the issue hoping the community will do the right thing. The intent of the free program is to remove debris from wildfire mitigation.
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