Commissioners vote to conduct fire plan |

Commissioners vote to conduct fire plan

Brandon Johnson

Moffat County’s 3 million acres of rugged, unpopulated land makes it a difficult place to fight wildfires.

If a wildfire or other emergency happens in the rural parts of the county, officials say finding the exact location can be difficult.

Sgt. Tim Jantz with the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office said in some cases, emergency responders have never been to the rural areas they respond to, or the area and its landmarks have changed since they were last there. Jantz is part of the county’s wild land fire coordination group.

Moffat County is working on a community fire hazard and emergency-response assessment. On Tuesday, Moffat County commissioners voted to accept bids from contractors to conduct the project.

Commissioner Darryl Steele said the project will provide detailed maps of areas of the county that can be hard to access. It also will look at the different types of fire fuels in the county.

The deadline for bids is Oct. 17. Commissioners did not establish a minimum bid Tuesday.

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

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

Jantz said having detailed maps will help not only the Sheriff’s Office, but also the other wildfire crews responsible for Moffat County’s 4,732 square miles, including crews at the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service.

“This will be very much a boon to us because we do have such a large area,” Jantz said.

He said looking at the different types of fire fuels in the county will be particularly helpful.

“You can get a good idea of what type of fuels that you’re going to run into,” Jantz said.

Some fuels, such as oak brush, create more intense fires than other fuels. If crews know what kind of fuels a fire will spread to, Jantz said they will have a better chance of containment.

Moffat County Natural Re—-sources Director Jeff Comstock said the study could be conducted this winter, but it will depend on whether the contractor wants to conduct the survey in the snow.

Brandon Johansson can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 213, or

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