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Chaffee County, Colorado
Mount Harvard Estates

Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP)

Addendum to Chaffee County Community Wildfire Protection Plan
Final – May 2009

Mount Harvard Estates

The Mount Harvard Development subdivision, also known as Mount Harvard Estates, is located 5 miles north of the town of Buena Vista just east of US Highway 24, adjacent to the Arkansas River. The subdivision consists of forty-four properties, thirty-two of which have residences and twelve of which are currently undeveloped. Total property, right of way and common area in the subdivision is approximately 110 acres, with the median lot size 2.2 acres. Large tracts of BLM land extend both north and south. A Mount Harvard Development Property Owners Association (POA) and its elected board of directors establish bylaws, restrictive and protective covenants, dues and joint operations. The following plan has been created for the proactive operations, protection and safety of both the individual members and the greater POA community.

General Purpose

  1. To extend the Chaffee County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) through an addendum specific to the goals and strategies of Mount Harvard Estates (MHE) properties.
  2. To inform and support individual property owners through reduction of wildfire risks and improvement of wildfire response safety.
  3. To create a coordinated MHE community plan for wildfire mitigation and wildfire response safety.
  4. To develop a coordinated wildfire mitigation effort with Chaffee County, the Colorado State Forest Service, the US Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and adjacent private property owners.
  5. To seek and expand MHE resources and potential funding for fuel reduction and MHE wildfire mitigation efforts.

Specific Objectives

None of the objectives are to be construed as a requirement on individual property owners. Actions on individual properties are at the discretion of each POA member.

Fuel Reduction

  1. Continue wildfire education of individual property owners and encourage them to reduce on-site fuel throughout their property, and to develop safer more defensible perimeters around houses and other structures.
  2. Develop options and additional support for disposal of slash either as bulk to landfill or chipping and disposal of chips.
  3. Request administrators of public land adjacent to MHE (specifically BLM, and may include USFS and Chaffee County) to improve wildfire mitigation in MHE’s perimeter on their lands, as well as fire suppression planning.
  4. Effect fuel reduction on-privately-owned lands adjacent to MHE.

Wildfire Response Preparedness

  1. Research, evaluate and potentially pursue options for cistern water storage or dry hydrant installation.
  2. Negotiate with adjacent property owners for emergency exit option in event of fire blockage of current single-entry bridge.
  3. Revise existing subdivision map with updated homeowner status and contact numbers, including cell numbers to contact residents not on scene during an emergency. Distribute map to local fire response teams.
  4. Contact and discuss wildfire issues and protection with MHE immediate private neighbors. Secure cooperation in applying some wildfire hazard reduction of these adjacent lands and record neighbors’ contact information so that they too can be informed of any fire emergencies.
  5. Designate specific MHE members (e.g. board or wildfire mitigation workgroup) with responsibilities such as informing other MHE residents of a local or approaching fire, including coordination/information for incoming fire fighting teams.
  6. Develop and pursue grant applications that include specific needs identified in the MHE Wildfire Protection Plan, such as additional fuel reduction and waste disposal. Designate an individual who will be responsible for coordinating the development of the grants.

Education and Coordination to Date

  • Spring and Summer, 2008: Mount Harvard Estate property owners were informed of fire risk associated with deadwood and low hanging branches. Over one third of individual property owners cut and chip/haul away onsite deadwood as well as other fuel reduction efforts. A volunteer group of MHE neighbors provided deadwood clearance for one elderly couple unable to do their own cutting.
  • Spring, 2009: MHE property owners continued to reduce potential wildfire fuel on individual sites.
  • March 5, 2009: Board members and MHE residents attended CWPP public awareness meeting conducted by Chaffee County and USFS.
  • March 20, 2009: The MHE board of directors established its intent to explore best options for improving residents’ information and resources in preventative wildfire mitigation. An ad hoc MHE Wildfire Mitigation Workgroup was established. 
  • April 7, 2009: MHE Wildfire Mitigation Workgroup met with Mark Thomas, Mitigation Coordinator for Chaffee County Fire Protection District Coordination to learn further steps in designing and planning a CWPP addendum for Mount Harvard Estates.
  • May 9, 2009: A Fire Mitigation general information meeting was conducted by the Chaffee County Fire Protection District and Colorado State Forest Service for all MHE property owners, with 20 owners in attendance. Property owners learned of fire potential in various forest types and terrain in Chaffee County and what each property owner can do to reduce wildfire potential on their properties. The purpose and initial planning of a MHE Community Wildfire Protection Plan was presented.
  • May 25, 2009: Mount Harvard Estate’s completed addendum to the Community Wildfire Protection Plan is submitted to the Salida office of the Colorado State Forest Service.

Bob Box, Chair
MHE Wildfire Mitigation Workgroup

Knox Williams, President
MHE Property Owners Association

Mt. Harvard Estates Board Meeting March 20, 2009
Initial discussion and action steps for MHE Wildfire Protection Planning

Item 3:
Fire mitigation: Our dry winter has put fire experts in Chaffee County on special alert for the coming spring and summer. Bob Box, Alan Robinson, and I attended a meeting in early March at which fire specialists for Chaffee County, US Forest Service, and Colorado State Forests made presentations on fire mitigation for individual land owners and subdivisions. This was a very useful meeting. The MHE Board's action steps will be as follows:

    • Create an ad hoc fire mitigation committee (Bob, Alan, Knox, and any other homeowners who would like to volunteer)
    • Invite fire specialists with the County and Forest Service for a site inspection of Mt Harvard Estates
    • Set up a meeting with these fire specialists for all our property owners to learn how we as individual homeowners and collectively as a subdivision can improve our environment for preventing fire and/or lessening the impact if fire breaks out.
    • Create a Colorado Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) specifically for our Mt Harvard Estates subdivision that we would file with the Chaffee County Fire Protection District and the Colorado State Forest Service. A CWPP includes information on preparedness (such as creating defensible space around homes and around the perimeter of the subdivision), access for large emergency vehicles, water-access sites, etc.

Knox Williams, Pres.

Mt. Harvard Estates map