Summit Park to Hold Wildfire Education Event
With the ominous approach of the 2013 wildfire season, communities across Utah are ramping up efforts to mitigate the disastrous threat wildfires pose. In Summit County, Summit Park is leading the charge.
This Saturday, June 8, Summit Park will host a Firewise Event at On Top Roofing, 155 Aspen Drive, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event’s purpose will be to inform the community about ways to make homes safer from wildland fires.
In attendance at the event will be representatives from the Park City Fire District, with an engine crew and fire personnel to answer questions; Smokey Bear and the U.S. Forest Service; Utah State Lands and Forestry with a fire prevention trailer, and the Tiger Tree Company, which will give demonstrations of real fire prevention strategies.
Within the context of Utah, Summit County is particularly at risk for wildfires. Data provided by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Department of the Interior in 2010 showed that Summit County contains 5,921 square miles of ‘High Hazard’ land and 605 square miles of ‘Extreme Hazard’ land.
The Summit Park Home Owners Association (SPHA), which is trying to establish Summit Park as a national Firewise community, hopes to gain Summit Park recognition by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). SPHA President Chris Quinones states on Summit Park’s website that endorsement by the NFPA would increase Summit Park’s chances of getting "national and state fire prevention and healthy forest grants."
SPHA Wildland Fire Coordinator Mike Quinones is confident that the Firewise program will give state and local firefighters an increased chance of saving homes in the community during wildfire season. Quinones hopes to use potential grant money secured through the Firewise program to contract with companies that clear brush and at-risk fuels near homes in the area.
"The problem in Summit Park is that everything is on the hillside. We want to give them [the fire districts] half a chance to protect our homes," Quinones said. "We’re trying to create a healthy forest and a defensible space around our homes."
The event on Saturday will also feature a community yard sale and a clean-up day as part of Summit Park Community Days. There will also be a barbeque and a fundraiser for Craig Patterson, an avalanche forecaster who was killed earlier this year in an avalanche.
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Councilor Glenn Wright estimated that the ability to provide renewable energy sources for county power will cost the average Summit County resident $0.70 per year above current costs.