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10 more slash-collection weekends approved for this summer

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Locations will be in county's mountain areas

By Daniel Laverty

The Jeffco commissioners unanimously approved 10 additional remote slash-collection sites in the county this summer, at a special meeting last Thursday.

“One of the biggest complaints I hear is the limited number of slash sites offered,” Commissioner Don Rosier said during the meeting.

The commissioners awarded a contract to Indian Hills resident Bret Roller, who has been working with Jeffco for years to solve the county’s slash-removal issues.

Dates and times have yet to be scheduled, but the 10 sites will be offered from August to October. Locations will be focused in the Evergreen area but will be spread throughout other mountain regions of Jeffco. 

“(Roller) will be working with fire departments, schools, locals and other groups to find the sites,” Tighe said after the meeting. “He has a great vision for slash removal.”

The sites will be at empty parking lots and will operate for two days each.

Jeffco Facilities and Construction manager Mark Danner anticipates each site collecting 1,500 cubic yards of slash. Operating the additional sites will cost $44,000 total and would include equipment rental and grinding and transporting the collected slash.

If the new sites prove workable this year, the commissioners are prepared to offer Roller’s business, Rolling R Ranch Co., a contract to coordinate and operate 26 slash collection sites in 2015. The county is also planning on applying for two Colorado Department of Natural Resources grants to cover the costs of future slash removal programs.

“The grants will cover equipment and operating costs,” Commissioner Casey Tighe said, adding that, if Jeffco is awarded the funds for equipment, the cost would drop significantly to operate remote slash sites.

Danner estimated that, with purchased equipment, operating 26 sites in 2015 would cost just $5,054 for the entire program.

“A (Department of Natural Resources) grant would reimburse 50 percent of equipment (costs),” Danner said.  

The grants would be awarded in September.

The additional sites this year and, if approved, next year will use grinders to break down slash. 

Two of the original 2014 slash collection dates hosted by the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office are still scheduled. The next slash weekend is from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. July 12 and 13 at Conifer High School.

Curtain burner

Last year, Jeffco was awarded a $130,000 grant from the North Central All-Hazards Emergency Management Region to buy a "curtain burner" to help dispose of slash.

“The burner will still be used, but on a much larger scale,” Tighe said. “The curtain burner will be used for forest health and taking care of bigger sections of county land.”

A curtain burner blows air into a chamber to oxygenate the fire and also to entrap particles and smoke; it is compliant with federal environmental standards.

Tighe said the burner would help with large-scale mitigation efforts on Jeffco Open Space land and in forested areas of unincorporated Jeffco. A location for the burner remains undetermined.

A rash of slash

Slash removal has been a hot topic during the last few years for residents doing fire mitigation on their properties. Slash disposal became more difficult in October 2012 when the Rooney Ranch Recycling Center stopped accepting organic material.

Due to budget constraints, the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office has decreased the number of remote slash sites it offers. Jeffco originally planned three for this summer, down from seven in 2011.

The Jeffco Planning Commission approved placing a slash burner at Shaffers Crossing in June 2012, but that plan was abandoned because of public outcry over its proximity to Staunton State Park and Elk Creek Elementary School.

“(I’ve) spent hundreds of hours in the mountain communities talking with Jeffco residents and working toward a fiscally responsible approach to slash collection and processing,” Rosier said. “(Adding these sites) is a great step in that direction.”

Contact Daniel Laverty at 303-350-1042 or Daniel@evergreenco.com. Follow Daniel on Twitter @LavertyReports.

Slash collection sites, schedule and fees

NOTE: All sites will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

July 12 and 13

Conifer High School, 10441 Highway 73

Host: Elk Creek Fire

Aug. 9 and 10

Station 3, 8445 U.S. 285

Host: Inter-Canyon/Indian Hills Fire

Fees:

Small pickup: bed-high, $5; cab-high, $8; above cab-high, $10

Large pickup: bed-high, $8; cab-high, $10; above cab-high, $12

Trailer: single axle, $10; double axle, $15

Dump truck: cab-high, $20; above cab-high, $25

Collection sites will accept slash, limbs, tree debris and pine needles.

Collection sites will NOT accept household trash, tree stumps, rocks, metal and construction material.

For more information, call 303-271-4900.