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Deer Creek Valley Ranchos

Deer Creek Valley RanchosThe community of Deer Creek Valley Ranchos (DCVR) is located 40 miles southwest of Denver in Park County and approximately eight miles north of Bailey, Colorado. Situated between 8,600 and 9,000 foot elevation, the DCVR is located in a natural setting with predominant stands of Ponderosa pine and aspen. Three hundred homes are scattered throughout approximately 1,600 acres. The Pike National Forest is located within close proximity of this community. The adjacent national forest lands are heavily forested with a high fire occurrence history, including several large fires. An emerging issue soon to impact the DCVR and other local communities in the Bailey area is the mountain pine beetle epidemic. This fast-moving beetle epidemic is responsible for killing thousands of acres of pine trees and has seriously impacted the forests of Colorado. The epidemic has not yet reached Bailey, but it is just a matter of time before it does. It will leave our communities at an increased risk for devastating crown fires.

In the winter of 2005, members of the DCVR community met with representatives from the Platte Canyon Fire Protection District (PCFPD) to discuss the potential threat of wildfire to their homes. As a result, a fire mitigation specialist from the PCFPD made presentations and provided information to the Deer Creek Valley Ranchos HOA on how to develop a community fuels mitigation program with the ultimate goal of creating defensible space around homes and adjacent outbuildings. During the summer of 2005, the DCVR entered into a partnership with the Coalition for the Upper South Platte (CUSP) which is a non-profit watershed protection organization whose mission is to protect the water quality and ecological health of the Upper South Platte Watershed. As a result of the partnership with CUSP and mitigation expertise provided by the PCFPD, the DCVR began a proactive fuel mitigation program. CUSP provided a large commercial slash chipper with a project foreman and DCVR provided a work crew made up of property owners. From 2005 through 2007 approximately 50 properties were mitigated, thus reducing fuel ignition hazards and the threat of wildfire.

Deer Creek Valley RanchosIn 2007, the DCVR applied for Firewise Community/USA recognition status, supported by PCFPD and Colorado State Forest Service. In October 2007, this status was granted. Because we live in an area that is at high risk for wildfires, communities within the Bailey area are beginning to realize the importance of forest stewardship and indorsing the Firewise concept.

In 2008, the DCVR will continue with its slash chipping program. In addition, the Colorado State Forest Service has awarded the PCFPD a large grant to assist our community in reducing wildfire risk, as well as potential home and property loss through a fuel mitigation effort should a wildfire occur. This work will be conducted by the PCFPD’s 20-person fire crew. The work will consist of developing more formal home ignition zones within the subdivision. We were informed by the Colorado Forest Service that our community received a higher priority for this funding grant because of our Firewise Community/USA status.