Tweet about this on Twitter11Share on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on Facebook157

New Program Director

Black Forest Together has exciting news!

scott

Black Forest Together hired Black Forest resident Scott MacDonald as its Program Director to oversee Forest Recovery and Restoration. This full-time position is made possible by a grant from the Pikes Peak Community Foundation.

Scott and his wife Gabi have lived in Black Forest for 14 years.  A former Air Force Lt Colonel, he joined Black Forest Fire/Rescue in 2009 as a volunteer firefighter/EMT.  Scott currently serves as a Lieutenant overseeing the fire department’s wildfire mitigation program and Firewise education effort.  In the wake of the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest Fires, he has focused on helping Black Forest neighborhoods organize as Firewise Communities.

Scott began his new role on Monday, September 15. His office is located in the Black Forest Together Resource Center at 11590 Black Forest Road, Suite 30 (Forest Plaza Center, west of Subway).  But his “real” office will be in the Forest, working with volunteers and residents as we restore, rebuild and become better prepared to live in our wildland environment.

To welcome Scott to Black Forest Together, or to discuss how BFT can support forest restoration and recovery, call the Resource Center at 495-2445.


Forest Management Plan Updates for Black Forest Regional Park
and the Pineries Open Space
Public Meeting on September 23
Please read the following letter from Elaine Kleckner, the Planning Manager of El Paso County Community Services Department.
Greetings Black Forest Residents and Interested Parties:El Paso County Parks developed master plans for Black Forest Regional Park and the Pineries Open Space in 2010.  Both plans had technical supporting documents, such as forest management plans, to guide County Parks’ stewardship of the properties.The Black Forest Fire in 2013 dramatically changed the landscape of both parks and brought new management concerns to light.  It was apparent following the County’s initial burn assessment that the forest and noxious weed management plans needed to be updated to address existing forest conditions, improve the overall health of the forest, mitigate risk, and provide a suitable environment for future recreation improvements.El Paso County contracted with a team of experienced professional foresters to update the forest and noxious weed management plans in August, 2014.  The team is led by Keith Worley of Forestree Development and includes Stefan Reinold of Colorado Forest Management and Lawton Grinter of Rocky Mountain Forestry.  The team has been working with County staff to assess conditions, make recommendations and prepare draft plans.

El Paso County Parks will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, September 23, from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at La Foret Conference & Retreat Center.  The consultant team will provide an overview of the updated forest management plans for Black Forest Regional Park and the Pineries Open Space and will present findings and preliminary recommendations.  Public comments and questions are welcome.  La Foret is located at 6145 Shoup Road, Colorado Springs, CO  80908, and the meeting will be in the Ponderosa Lodge (map attached).

Draft plans are expected to be ready for public review by September 23 on the Community Services Department/Planning Division webpage at: http://adm.elpasoco.com/CommunityServices/planning/Pages/BFRPandPOSForestManagementPlanUpdates.aspx.

If you have questions or would like additional information, please feel free to contact me.

Elaine Kleckner
Planning Manager
El Paso County Community Services Department
2002 Creek Crossing
Colorado Springs, CO  80905
719-520-6999
elainekleckner@elpasoco.com


oktoberfest

WE NEED TEAM LEADS!

To learn more about how you can make a difference in the Forest, please consider volunteering to be a Forestry Team Lead. Click here for more information.


Black Forest Together will be presenting timely FireWise Tips presented by Scott MacDonald of the Black Forest Fire / Rescue

Future articles will include information on fall projects that harden a home from embers as well as winter fire safety including tips on fireplaces/ashes and space heaters and much more to come.

FireWise Tip #1

Golden-Hour-dried-grass

As we come closer to end of summer, we can look back on this year as being very fortunate having the amount of rain we received.  The forest has remained very green and lush this year.  With a relatively few “Red Flag Days” and numerous afternoon showers, we have an abundance of light flashy type fuels that have grown throughout our properties.

One thing we do need to keep in mind as we continue our mitigation efforts is that those grasses and light fuels will be drying out soon and will create a large fuel base that can easily be ignited.  Homeowners should consider cutting the grasses that are within 50 to 100 feet of structures down to four to six inches in height. This will help limit the surface fuel base and reduce potential surface-fire flame lengths that could threaten homes and other structures.  Also, consider cutting grasses that are under trees having  lower branches to six inches or less out three to five feet from the tree’s drip line.  These actions will reduce the potential “ladder fuel” effect that these tall grasses and light fuels create and give us a better chance of surface fire not being able to transfer to the tree crowns.  Further information on Firewise and mitigation techniques can be found at http://www.bffire.org .


Together, We Can Do This.
On July 12, 2014, twelve families from the Terrell and Ford Lane area joined together to mitigate their properties. Marj Fisher organized the effort. They first cleared their properties of slash, dog hair pines and scrub oak; stacked in alongside the road; and then Black Forest Together brought its chipper with Eddie Bracken as its operator. This neighborhood got rid of all their slash piles in 3.5 hours! It doesn’t take long when you work together.
Chipper in action


Black Forest Together Has a Brand-New Wood Chipper!

The American Red Cross has purchased a wood chipper for BFT to use while working on community projects and forest recovery.

If you are in need and would like to request a work team to use the woodchipper on your property, please contact Black Forest Together by email at blackforesttogether@gmail.com or phone 424-2445 and speak to one of our volunteers. We will require the following information: your name, address , phone, email, number of acres, percent black/green, home partial or total loss and willing/able to volunteer. Bill Mantia is managing chipper requests. He will contact you to set up a site visit.

The chipper will not be deployed without a BFT team lead trained on the machine. This individual will operate the chipper because of liability issues. Homeowners can assist in handing slash to the operator. We are focused on liability and safety as well as service to the community. Under no circumstances will the chipper be loaned out to homeowners.

chipper


Get Your High-Visibility House Number Sign at the Black Forest Fire Station

Many Black Forest homes have no house numbers, or numbers that are hard to see – especially in rain, snow or smoke. If you need to improve your numbers, you can now get these simple high-visibility house number signs at Station One.

The numbers are 4 inches tall, reflective and are installed on both sides of the post. They are designed to take an impact of over 60 MPH and bounce back. The cost is $25.00, installed. If you lost your home in the Black Forest Fire, your sign is FREE and we will install it for you. Order yours by calling Station One at 495-4300, or stop in to sign up. Payment can be made at the station or arrangements made to collect on installment at the home (exact amount please).

These number signs are not required, but can help our members find you quickly when minutes matter.


Black Forest Discount Cards Still Available

The BFT Discount Card is a win-win way to help Black Forest families and local businesses recover together. Our families get a price break on the things they need to rebuild their homes and restore their land. And businesses – especially our local Black Forest businesses – get a valuable opportunity to showcase their products or services. Click here to see the current list of participating businesses.