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Recent wildfires show need to step up mitigation efforts
The number of wildfires we have experienced so far this season should serve as a wake-up call for all of us living in the foothills. After the recent Bluebell Fire, I was traveling through the area on my bicycle and saw many signs thanking the firefighters for their work in stopping what could have been yet another major wildfire. These thanks are deserved, as the firefighters who worked this fire did a remarkable job in limiting its potential destruction.
I would like to suggest another way of thanking them. We should all step up our mitigation efforts. As I ride through the area, I am increasingly alarmed at the lack of even basic mitigation such as removing dead and downed trees on our lots and cleaning pine needles and other debris from our roofs. By taking the responsibility to care for our own spaces, we can limit how fast a fire can spread, thus giving our firefighters a better chance at stopping blazes before they get out of control.
One way to get started is to become a Firewise community. These groups are neighbors helping neighbors clean things up making it safer for the firefighters who risk their lives to save our property. In addition, there are tax advantages for cleaning up our land.
Find out more at www.firewise.org.
Dave Peregoy

Thanks to all who helped during the Bluebell Fire
It is an unfortunate truth that we often take things for granted until we really need them — a fact I became acutely aware when I was evacuated due to the Bluebell Fire. Sure, I donate to the American Red Cross, and I’ve always had a deep respect for firefighters, but it really wasn’t until I was the one needing a place to stay and praying that my home could be saved that I came to truly appreciate these people and organizations.
I grew up in Evergreen, and as an adult I’ve chosen to live here in part because I have space. But a sad consequence I’ve discovered is that I’ve had too much space. I’ve never met people I’ve lived next door to for eight years!
At a community meeting about the fire, I found myself shaking hands with people I should already know, and despite the dire circumstances we were able to find laughter and a shoulder to lean on. Uniting in fear and hope is a powerful thing. When we were finally allowed home, there were resounding cheers through the neighborhood, and “Welcome home!” could be heard whenever a car drove past.
To ALL the personnel and volunteers who touched this tragedy from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to the Evergreen fire department, the American Red Cross to the Salvation Army and Foothills Animal Shelter, thank you doesn’t begin to express what needs to be said. To open my front door after two days of fearing my house would go up in smoke is an indescribable feeling. And “home” has taken on new meaning, as it isn’t just the structure I so deeply value but the neighborhood, the people, the community.
Megan McCarty