County hires company to look at fires

When crews fight wildfires in Moffat County in the future, they will do so with a better knowledge of the area's fire danger, Moffat County commissioners say.

Commissioners voted Tuesday to pay about $66,000 to Anchor Point Group of Boulder to conduct a community fire hazard and emergency-response assessment for Moffat County.

The assessment will create maps of vegetation that can fuel fire and road maps for rural sections of the county.

In 2004, fire-mitigation plans were written for the four areas of the county deemed to be a high risk. Those areas were Knez Divide, Greystone, Bakers Peak and Wilderness Ranch.

This study will look at the remaining communities in the county.

The county still has to work out the details of the contract, said Commissioner Tom Gray, who expects the project to cost less than $66,000.

The project will be paid for with grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Admin--istration.

The county initially wanted photos that would show details up to one meter, Gray said. But officials learned the Bureau of Land Management already had photos for some areas.

"We are only going to do what we need," Gray said.

The original bid from Anchor Point was for $66,000, Gray said. But the cost will be less because the county doesn't need the same assessment as officials originally thought, he said.

The project should take about three months to complete, said Rod Moraga, Anchor Point manager.

The study will use satellite photos to determine what types of vegetation are in the county, Moraga said.

Knowing what kind of vegetation is out there will give firefighters an idea of how fires will behave, Moraga said.

Anchor Point will make different models for different weather conditions, Moraga said.

The employees at Anchor Point are all firefighters so they try to make maps and assessments that are easy for firefighters to understand, he said.

Anchor Point has conducted fire assessments across the nation for the past six years, Moraga said.

Commissioners also meet at 2 p.m. today.

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