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Four fire plans

Proposals' futures still in question

The Moffat County fire plan is either heating up or cooling down, depending on the actions of the next commissioner board.

The commissioners are expected to approve fire plans for four Moffat County communities at a meeting Tuesday. The fire plans for Bakers Peak, Wilderness Ranch, Knez Divide and Greystone are the first tangible products of the commissioners’ efforts to develop fire plans for communities at risk for wild fires.

But after these plans, the new board will have to decide whether it wants to continue developing plans for the other 15 communities that have been identified as at-risk for wildfires.



Resource Logic of Moffat County has completed most of the work on the plans during the past six months. During a presentation of the plans last Tuesday by Project Manager Dale Thompson, Commissioner-elect Tom Gray reiterated statements he made during his campaign that it’s not government’s job to protect private property from fire.

Commissioner Darryl Steele has voiced similar thoughts. But Steele supports the plans Resource Logic developed.



“I think the four fire plans are going to be good, because they are going to work as emergency management plans, too,” Steele said.

He described the four plans as a change in direction for the county. The plans include detailed maps of the communities and identify structures, roads and terrain types. The maps could prove useful for emergency services, such as the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, Steele said.

“I’m fairly comfortable with where we’re at on these,” he said.

But Steele wouldn’t comment about whether he would pursue the development of future community-specific fire plans. He said he’d have to consult with his fellow commissioners and they would make the decision as a group.

These plans should be the last step the county takes in the planning process, Steele said. The commissioners will turn the finished plans over to the communities to implement on their own.

Resource Logic’s plans identify where firebreaks could best protect communities. For example, at Wilderness Ranch, a community of 232 structures on Black Mountain, Resource Logic suggested the community create firebreaks along its southern edge.

Commissioners Marianna Raftopoulos and Hampton, who sat on the board when work on the plan began, have said it was never the county’s intention to fund fire mitigation projects.

Since 2001, the county has spent nearly $350,000 to create a fire plan.

Much of the funding has come from grants provided by the state Department of Local Affairs, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

The commissioners requested several changes to the plan and asked Thompson to bring the revised plans to the next commissioner meeting.

Specifically, Raftopoulos asked Thompson to recommend fire mitigation techniques for particular areas.


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