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February 2, 2021

Feb. 2, 2021 Wildfire Recovery Community Update

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2020 Wildfire Recovery with county logo

Feb. 2, 2021

Welcome to Boulder County's 2020 Wildfire Recovery newsletter. This communication is intended to share information with homeowners who were impacted by the CalWood and Lefthand Canyon Fires.

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Below you will find some more timely information about your recovery process. If you ever have questions, ideas, or are hitting roadblocks you think we can help with, please reach out to Garry directly or email If your question seems pertinent to the rest of the neighborhood, we will add that information to future newsletters.

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Restoration and Burnt Trees

Boulder County will receive funding through the National Resource Conservation Service EWP program (Emergency Watershed Program). The bulk of that funding will be spent applying wood mulch over about 1500 acres of the moderate and high severity burn areas on slopes 20-60%. Many studies have shown that mulching, either with wood or straw is the single best thing you can do to mitigate for soil erosion and debris flows. The money cannot be used on Federal lands, so we are not doing work on USFS lands, only County and larger private parcels. To that end we have identified the HOA lands above both subdivisions as candidates for treatment. There is no plan to mulch private parcels.

Our Forester and others have said that the slope is accessible enough to allow a machine to masticate the trees. You may or may not be familiar with this practice, but it is essentially a high clearance tracked excavator with a shredding attachment where the bucket would be. It takes standing dead trees and shreds them into mulch. This practice has multiple benefits. One, it provides a woody mulch covering on the soil without the need for finding trees off site to grind for that mulch. Two, it removes the dead hazard trees, which can be both a safety and an aesthetic concern. We would not remove every tree, likely leaving pockets around rock outcrops or other areas, aiming for treating approximately 70% of the slope. Of course we will need permission from the HOAs to do this. We are in communication with the HOA presidents.

A second part of this discussion is the hazard trees that exist along access roads, driveways and on each of the private parcels. Unlike the HOA lands, private land in your subdivisions is not part of the funded EWP work. The County assumes this work may be completed by each landowner and their insurance company, or the larger HOA can coordinate something. If this can be done in a timely fashion, the County would be interested in using the trees as mulch on other areas of the fire. If it can be organized across the subdivision and the logs stockpiled in an accessible place, our contractor could haul the logs thus helping us, and providing some cost savings on your end. The specifications we have are 8-inch diameter minimum, de-limbed logs. This would likely need to be done by mid-April.

We have reached out to Team Rubicon to ascertain if they could take on the coordination across the subdivisions and take down burnt trees on private properties and stage them for the County to utilize. We are also exploring if there are funds to help support this work. This could be a very exciting win-win. Stay tuned.

Emotional Well-being

One of the key lessons learned from previous wildfire and flood disasters is that these events can have a significant impact on an individual’s well-being. And it impacts everyone differently and at different times, sometimes right away and sometimes months later.

Adults and children across the community who were impacted by the fires may experience normal stress response symptoms like mood swings, sleep disruption, and other stress reactions.

The Community Foundation of Boulder County has allocated a portion of the 2020 Fires Relief Fund to support the Wildfire Mental Health Program. WMHP offers up to $500 towards five individual therapy sessions (a maximum of $100 per session), or up to $875 towards five family therapy sessions (a maximum of $175 per session) and provides a pool of licensed providers from which to choose. Here are links to some of the press we’ve done to explain the program:

Rebuilding Pause and Upcoming Public Hearings

Boulder County is committed to assisting residents rebuild as safely and simply as possible. To this end, Boulder County is working to amend the Land Use Code regulations to specifically address rebuilding in the burn area. The proposed regulations will focus on addressing the specific hazards in the area while providing flexibility to property owners who do not want to rebuild exactly what existed before the fire without requiring the Site Plan Review process. The staff report and proposed Code language will be emailed to all property owners along with details regarding how to participate in these public hearings. Please stay tuned!

Note: If you are ready now to proceed with rebuilding the Site Plan Review process is an available immediate option. Contact Community Planning & Permitting Deputy Director Kim Sanchez for more information.

The Boulder County Planning Commission (PC) and Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) will hear Docket DC-20-0004: Article 19 CalWood Fire Rebuilding Regulations in the coming weeks. During both hearings, staff will propose text Amendments to Article 19 of the Boulder County Land Use Code related to the Calwood and Lefthand Canyon Fires and rebuilding in the aftermath of the disaster.

The Planning Commission hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at 2 p.m. The Board of County Commissioners hearing is scheduled for Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 1:30 p.m.

What - Boulder County Planning Commission
When - Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021 at 2 p.m.
Where - Zoom (Due to COVID-19 concerns, this hearing will be held virtually).
Why - To discuss Docket DC-20-0004 – Planning Commission will make a recommendation to the Board of County Commissioners regarding the proposed changes. The PC staff packet will be available at approximately one week prior to the hearing.
How - Join by computer or phone. Register to attend or participate in the virtual hearing. Registrants will receive an email from Zoom with the link to join the meeting online. Optional call-in information: Dial 1-833-568-8864 (toll free) | Meeting ID: 160 946 0061#

What - Boulder County Board of County Commissioners
When - Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 at 1:30 p.m.
Where - Zoom (Due to COVID-19 concerns, this hearing will be held virtually).
Why - To discuss Docket DC-20-0004 – A decision regarding the adoption of the proposed changes will be made by the Board of County Commissioners. The BOCC staff packet will be available at approximately one week prior to the hearing.
How - Join by computer or phone. Please visit approximately one week prior to register to attend or participate in the virtual hearing.

We welcome you to provide public comment remotely on this item during the virtual public hearings. If you would like to provide written comments regarding this items, you may mail comments to the Community Planning & Permitting Department (P.O. Box 471, Boulder, CO 80306) or email Hannah Hippely. Please include docket number DC-20-0004 in the subject item in your communication.

BuildSmart logo

Considerations for Rebuilding

Since Boulder County BuildSmart, the county’s building code requirements and energy efficiency code, may drive your design, we held a community meeting on Jan. 11 with property owners, architects and contractors to provide information on this program and answer questions. View the recorded meeting.

Please take a look at the regulations in place through the BuildSmart program. All new construction in Boulder County will need to adhere to the regulations within BuildSmart (this may include adding things like indoor sprinkler systems). Don’t hesitate to contact Ron Flax, Chief Building Official to ask questions and learn more about BuildSmart and other building code requirements.

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Warmth for the Winter

More than 50 quilts were donated from eQuilters for anyone impacted by the 2020 wildfires across our region. There are typical style and patterns as well as kids patterns to choose from. Please reach out to Joycelyn Fankhouser if you are interested in a quilt and she can work with you to arrange pickup or delivery.

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Garry Sanfaçon

Recovery Manager or

Hannah Hippley

Long Range Planning Manager | Community Planning & Permitting

Joycelyn Fankhouser

Emergency Management Coordinator | Housing & Human Services

Sharon Bokan

Small Acreage Coordinator | CSU Extension Office, Parks & Open Space

Kim Sanchez

Deputy Director | Community Planning & Permitting

Ron Flax

Chief Building Official | Community Planning & Permitting

Therese Glowacki

Resource Management Manager | Parks & Open Space

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Feb. 10, 2021

Roadmap to Recovery Virtual Workshop for 2020 Colorado survivors - Navigating the Dwelling & Contents Portion of Your Claim

Wednesday, Feb. 10, 5:30 p.m.


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Feb. 20, 2021

Roadmap to Recovery Q&A Webinar - Strategies for Completing Your Home Inventory for 2020 CO wildfire survivors

Saturday, Feb. 20, 11 a.m.


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Feb. 16, 2021

Survivor to Survivor Forum

Tuesday, Feb. 16, 8 p.m.


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Feb. 24, 2021

Roadmap to Recovery Q&A Webinar - Post-Workshop Q&A for 2020 Colorado wildfire survivors

Wednesday, Feb. 24, 5:30 p.m.


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Feb. 17, 2021

Planning Commission Public Hearing on Docket DC-20-0004 - Proposed Boulder County Land Use Code amendments related to the Calwood Fire and rebuilding.

Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, 2 p.m.


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Feb. 25, 2021

Board of County Commissioners Public Hearing on Docket DC-20-0004 - Proposed Boulder County Land Use Code amendments related to the Calwood Fire and rebuilding.

Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021, 1:30 p.m.

Visit approximately one week prior to register.