As the rainy season approaches, we want to remind area residents to begin preparing now for post-fire flooding in the Decker Fire burn area. Areas below the Decker Fire burn scar face risks to safety, homes, roads, trails, and water supplies from post-fire flash flooding. While projects are underway to assist landowners and others with recovery, there is significant work you can do now - before the rainy season is upon us.
Education and preparedness are the first line of defense.
Hillsides stripped by the fire of trees and other vegetation are unable to absorb rainfall which creates what we call a “bulking factor”. The bulking factor takes into consideration increased runoff due to reduced vegetation and the collection of debris (burned trees, soils, etc.). The bulking factor in post-fire conditions results in dangerous flash flooding even in drainages or draws that have historically been dry. Burned and unstable soils break apart easily even with modest amounts of precipitation and burned trees and debris can be swept down during a flash flood and cause severe injuries and threats to life and property. Educating and preparing yourself will go a long way to creating a safe and secure environment on your property.
By taking a few basic but vital steps you can prepare yourself for potential post-fire flooding. We ask you all to be safe, be prepared, and be informed. For more information, links, resources, and contacts to help you prepare for post-fire flooding please visit the rest of our website and Contact Us with questions.
REGISTER NOW FOR CHAFFEE COUNTY EMERGENCY ALERTS
PURCHASE FLOOD INSURANCE
REVIEW PREPAREDNESS & RECOVERY RESOURCES
We join with our community - locally and globally - to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus to help protect those that are most vulnerable. We are practicing social distancing, remaining at home and cancelling gatherings in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
We are fortunate to have a team that is prepared for and adept at working remotely so that we can continue working on urgent projects - especially post-fire recovery and flood preparedness - that impact the health and safety of our communities in the Arkansas Basin.
We will continue to shelter at home to protect public health and follow disease control recommended practices, while continuing to work hard on projects that positively impact forest and watershed health, and water quality, in the basin. We will continue to prepare for potential post-fire flooding that the coming rainy season could bring. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out by phone or email. We encourage everyone to carefully practice social distancing to keep everyone as safe as possible.
During times that channel all of our attention and action to frightening circumstances, we can choose to take the opportunity to learn to tread more lightly on the earth, consider how we may consume less to be safe and comfortable, and care for each other and the land that sustains us all.
POSTPONED: We stand with our community - locally and globally - to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus to help protect our most vulnerable community members. We are indefinitely postponing group projects and gatherings including this project until we have confirmation that it is safe to meet again.
Revegetation plays a crucial role in post-fire recovery. Vegetation helps hold burned soils in place, preventing channelization of flood flows and reduces the amount of sediment and debris that moves downstream in a flood event. Vegetation is key to long-term sustinability in post-fire conditions.
Join the Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative (ARWC) and the Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) for a day of seeding in the Upper Bear Creek Drainage. ARWC is seeking volunteers to help spread a native seed mix and mulch on private property that was burned in the Decker Fire.
Thank you to GARNA for gathering volunteers, to Western Native Seed for seed and Chaffee County for mulch for the projects. Recovery is a community-wide process, and we are grateful for our partners.
If you are interested in volunteering or donating funds to cover additional native and cover crop seed please email email@example.com.
Thank you to everyone who attended and to presenters who were available to share critical fire recovery resources with those impacted by the Decker Fire. Learn more.
Chaffee County Commissioners have submitted a letter of intent to the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) to be considered for Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) funding.
"The Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) Program, a federal emergency recovery program, helps local communities recover after a natural disaster strikes. The program offers technical and financial assistance to help local communities relieve imminent threats to life and property caused by floods, fires, windstorms, and other natural disasters that impair a watershed" (NRCS).
The County is in the preliminary stages of the assessment, but this program moves quickly. To date, the County has hired the Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative (ARWC), a 501c3 nonprofit specializing in post-fire recovery, to assist the County through the EWP process and on other recovery projects. The County, ARWC, and multiple local partners have conducted serval tours and meetings with NRCS staff to evaluate potential values at risk. The next step is for NRCS to prepare and submit their final report of values at risk to their Washington office for consideration of funding through the EWP program.
For more information on the EWP program, please visit the NRCS EWP website using the link below or contact Chelsey Nutter.
Local agencies and partners have been busy developing a Community Recovery Fair that will take place on February 29th, 2020 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the Chaffee County Fairgrounds. Landowners who live in close proximity to the Decker Fire are encouraged to attend as well as anyone who is interested in learning more about prepardness post-fire. The event is drop-in and will include several exhibitors who will be providing information on potential post-fire flooding prepardness. For more information on this event please fill out the contact form under the Contact Us page and we will respond to your questions.