I attended the meeting on Wednesday night for Boulder County's plan to do controlled burns on Rabbit Mountain at the St. Vrain office in Longmont. Unfortunately there were only six members of the public attending, all homeowners around Rabbit Mountain concerned about the effects of the plan.
They are planning to do a controlled burn on 3444 acres on Rabbit Mountain over seven years, with a limit of burning 350 acres per year. They are going to do the burns between July 18 and September 30. The area they plan to burn this year is the closest area to me and my neighbors north of Rabbit Mountain.
The plan is going to happen; this meeting was not for soliciting public comment but merely to explain the plan and try to alleviate fears of homeowners. My fears were not alleviated. A fire in our area can be devastating and fires can very quickly get out of control, especially during the hottest and driest months of the year. They said they cannot burn during the winter due to smoke laws, but why then does the Forest Service do their controlled burns on Sugarloaf in the winter?
Their objective is to get rid of weeds and old growth, bring it back to where it was in the 1800s when the whole area would burn, but this is 2017 and there are homes around Rabbit Mountain now. They are going to proceed with this plan despite concerns of homeowners, saying that Boulder County residents had an opportunity to vote on this during land use planning but most of us north of Rabbit Mountain are not residents of Boulder County, we are in Larimer County, and we had no opportunity to participate in voting on this plan, despite the fact that it will have a major impact upon our lives.
Controlled burns get out of control all of the time, and if there are other fires in our state and in other states, as is a virtual certainty during July, August and September resources to stop an out of control fire will be stretched thin.
There are other methods to control weeds, and old growth can be cut down and removed safely without fire. I am completely opposed to this dangerous plan.
The only good news I have for you is that last night Boulder County Sheriff Pelle imposed a stage one fire ban on Boulder County, including Rabbit Mountain, for at least through the Fourth of July. Hopefully this ban will remain in place through September: https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/COBOULDER/bulletins/1a66cf9
16500 Dakota Ridge Road.
Longmont, CO 80503