Castle Rock council approves Community Protection Plan

Castle Rock fire to start implementation

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Capping off three years of planning, and reflecting an increased priority after the Marshall Fire in Boulder County, the Castle Rock Town Council approved the Community Protection Plan, or CPP.

With a focus on protecting the community from the threat of wildland fires, Fire Chief Norris Croom explained the process to create the CPP during the Jan. 18 meeting. The CPP was developed after a three-year coordinated effort that involved a series of comprehensive, scientifically based analyses of wildfire-related hazards and risks in areas the Castle Rock Fire Department serves where wildland and urban areas meet.

Croom said the Castle Rock Fire Department currently manages fire protection for all 32 square miles of incorporated Castle Rock, plus an addition 34 square miles of unincorporated Douglas County. The plan approved by the Castle Rock council is specifically created for the 32 square miles in town limits, he said.

Croom said the CPP was a collaborative effort among the town, Douglas County and the Colorado State Forest Service. It provides mitigation strategies and tactics to protect life, homes and other property, infrastructure and recreation and environmental resources in the case of a significant wildfire, he said.

The CPP includes recommendations for public education, fuel management, and the identification of home ignition zones, water supplies and access/evacuation, Croom said.

In the CPP, the town is broken into 19 residential hazard zones, Croom said. Each zone was evaluated for a hazard risk of either low, moderate, high, very high or extreme. As a result, two zones were rated as moderate, 12 were rated as high and five were rated as very high, Croom said. There were no low or extreme zones identified in the assessment.

Implementing the CPP plan will help the town move forward on projects to reduce risks associated with wildland fire, with a priority first on very high-rated areas.

Councilmember Laura Cavey asked if the cost of implementing the CPP will be tough after residents rejected a sales tax increase in the November election. Funds from the increase were slated to go toward meeting the growing needs of the police and fire departments.

Croom said while the voters’ decision has put pressure on both the police and fire departments, wildland fire protection is a major priority, especially in the aftermath of the Marshall Fire in Boulder County. Implementing the CPP will happen because it is a priority, Croom said, noting that other needs will be shifted.

Council support is not the final step to implement the CPP. Croom stressed that developing a plan that can mitigate the damage if a wildland fire breaks out has to be a community-wide effort. Croom said if some residents make an effort and others don’t, it will not be helpful

The town will be going into local HOAs to educate and encourage residents to take steps to protect homes in the case of a fire. The steps are outlined in the approved document that can be found at crgov.com/3303/Wildfire-Safety.

In the same note, Croom said the town has to assess its own property in open lands and buildings.

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