At a May 16th meeting of the Nederland Saws & Slaws core group, members reaffirmed an earlier decision to split from Saws and Slaws for the 2017 season. The organization will now be known as Nederland Defensible Space (or neD-Space for short). Why the change? There are a number of reasons that we are stepping away from our sister organization in Coal Creek Canyon:
- Since its inception in 2012, the Nederland group has technically been a sub-committee of the Nederland Parks, Recreation & Open Space Advisory Board (PROSAB). As a Town-sponsored group, we have enjoyed robust liability insurance protection under the Town’s policy at no extra cost to the Town, and we therefore have had no need to charge the owners of event site properties for our work to pay for expensive insurance protection. Coal Creek Canyon Saws & Slaws incorporated as Saws & Slaws, Inc. in January. Had we opted to be a part of the Saws & Slaws, Inc. organization, we would have lost our relationship with the Town and been forced to begin charging property owners for mitigation work. The Town is willing to continue its sponsorship, and we are most comfortable continuing with a model that has worked well for us.
- Nederland Saws & Slaws had a wake-up call last autumn, when a volunteer was injured by a falling tree. While we have always taken safety seriously, this unfortunate mishap that involved a well-trained sawyer has prompted us to double down on safety protocols and make other changes in the way we conduct our mitigation events. The core group felt strongly that we needed to be in charge of setting and enforcing these standards ourselves, not a corporate board of directors that might not share our convictions.
- The Nederland core group volunteers don’t feel that they have time to participate in Saws & Slaws, Inc. governance. By keeping our focus locally, we ensure that local Nederland-area needs stay front and center.
Nederland Defensible Space will continue to collaborate and cooperate with Saws & Slaws, as we’ve developed strong relationships with our Coal Creek Canyon counterparts over the years, and we share a commitment towards preparedness for and adaptation to wildfire. We are leaving open the possibility of affiliating with that organization sometime in the future.
Additional Changes in Store for 2017
Event participants will notice a number of changes in the way we conduct mitigation events this season:
Safety, Safety, Safety—our top three priorities. There will be a designated Safety Officer at each event who will draw up a formal safety plan and will be responsible for enforcing it. The Safety Officer must have attained certification as a National Wildland Coordination Group(NWCG) Faller 1 or 2.
Sawyers—We’ll have two categories of sawyers this season. Qualified Sawyers must have completed an NWCG S-212 Power saw class, and be currently qualified as a Faller 3 or higher. Trainee Sawyers must have taken a qualifying power saw class, and attend an annual refresher class. All sawyers must have appropriate PPE to participate. All Trainee Sawyers will be paired with Qualified Sawyers; the former will observe for the initial 2 hours of cutting and then cut with supervision and coaching for the final 2 hours. The number of Trainee Sawyers will necessarily be limited, so those desiring to cut should sign up early.
Event Hosts—All participating properties must be enrolled in Boulder County’s Wildfire Partners program and have had their home assessment completed prior to the event. Nederland Defensible Space will be working closely with Wildfire Partners, and all neD-Space event volunteers will be eligible for a free Wildfire Partners risk assessment!
Event Scope of Work—Care will be taken not to take on too much cutting during an event. neD-Space also hopes to begin giving adequate attention to other defensible space matters besides tree removal, such as removing flammable material from around exterior walls and decks. Not up to the rigorous exercise that swamping involves? We can find other ways for you to help that are equally important.
Education—We mentioned above the fantastic opportunity for Trainee Sawyers to receive one-on-one instruction with S-212 Qualified Sawyers, but we would like each event to be an educational experience for all participants. To this end, we will seek to have a Wildfire Partners representative present at each event to describe the property risk assessment and explain how the work performed lowers the wildfire risk for the host properties.
2017 Kickoff Event May 27th in St. Antons
It’s become a tradition to hold our first mitigation event of the season in partnership with the St. Antons HOA. This year’s event is on May 27th; the goal of this event is to help homeowners in St. Antons HOA with wildfire mitigation around their homes. All volunteers are requested to meet at the intersection of Cougar Run and Conifer (136 Cougar Run in Google Maps) at 7:45am to sign in, complete a liability waver, and go through a quick safety briefing. Our event will run until 12 noon and then we will gather for a potluck BBQ. This is a fantastic opportunity to get some work done that benefits the entire community and then enjoy a well-earned meal together.
Here is what you need to bring:
Sawyers: Full PPE, chainsaw, fuel mix, bar oil, and accessories
Swampers (people dragging slash): long sleeve shirt, pants, gloves, sturdy shoes, safety glasses, ear protection
Everyone: A potluck side dish or dessert to share (Burgers, Brauts, and nonalcoholic beverages will be provided)
We will have a sawyer’s meeting at 7:15am to go over the scope of the day’s cutting.
RSVP (and questions) please to mailto:email@example.com
2017 neD-Space Event Hosts Needed
If you are a Nederland-area resident who has signed up with Wildfire Partners, consider banding with your neighbors to host a Nederland Defensible Space mitigation event this season. There is no better way to get to know your neighbors and get some free defensible space mitigation work done! Event hosts are needed from the Big Springs and Sunnyside neighborhoods. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Annual Firewise Town Cleanup June 3rd
The Town of Nederland and Boulder County are again co-sponsoring this annual event. The cleanup site is once again at the cluster of County facilities on Ridge Road (forestry sort yard, waste transfer station and transportation yard). The Firewise Town Cleanup event is a great time to clear the combustible materials that have accumulated in your home ignition zone, and haul them off before wildfire season gets underway. The event starts at 8:00 am (note that the sort yard opens at 9:00) and lasts until the dumpsters are full (expected to be mid-morning). For fees, materials accepted and other cleanup event information, please visit nederlandco.org/firewise.