Castle Pines, CO

Castle Pines adopts first wildfire mitigation plan

Mike McKibbin

By Mike McKibbin/NewsBreak Denver | May 28, 2022

[CASTLE PINES, COLO.] The City of Castle Pines has added its name to the growing number of Colorado municipalities to adopt a wildfire mitigation plan following the devastating Marshall fire in Boulder County at the end of December.

The city does not currently require wildfire mitigation action on private properties, City Manager Michael Penny wrote in a memo to the council for their May 24 meeting. The council voted 6-0 to adopt the plan with Mayor Tracy Engerman absent.

Penny noted before the Marshall fire, the city joined with South Metro Fire Rescue, which had worked with individual homeowners associations in the city to develop mitigation recommendations. Those individual plans were combined and merged to create the city-wide plan.

“Adoption of the plan does not mandate any action by a property owner,” Penny added. “Rather, it creates recommendations both specific for various areas within the community as well as general advice for any property owner.”

Einar Jensen, risk reduction specialist with the fire district, told the council 88% of wildfires in the district burn less than one acre.

“We’re unable to enforce any mitigation efforts,” he added. “It comes down to our partners and people wanting to help protect Castle Pines.”

Having an adopted plan will allow the city to look for grant opportunities at the county, state and federal levels to help HOAs and property owners pay for mitigation measures, Jensen noted.

Plan includes area wildfire concerns

The 36-page plan is a cooperative effort between the city, each of its HOAs, the Castle Pines North Metro District and the fire district. It assesses the hazards and vulnerabilities of the city, increases knowledge of wildfire risk, identifies a path for the city and its neighborhoods to adapt to wildfire potential and helps improve safety.

Castle Pines has approximately 11,000 residents over its 9.55 square miles of land. All residents are constituents of the city and the metro district. Many residents also belong to individual HOAs.

The plan notes Castle Pines sits on a plateau between Lone Tree and Castle Rock.

“As a result, its weather can be more extreme than in those adjacent communities,” the plan adds. “Stronger winds and more frequent lightning strikes add to the intrinsic hazards for this area.”

The plan also identifies hazards, recommended risk reduction priorities and accomplishments for the metro district and the golf courses within and adjacent to the city. It also includes neighborhood-specific information.

Property owners or tenants may request a personalized free building or site wildfire risk assessment by emailing ReducingRisk@southmetro.org.

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Mike McKibbin is an independent journalist on Colorado's Front Range and covers Douglas County for NewsBreak.

Denver, CO
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