News Flash

Summit County Government

Posted on: October 3, 2016

Wildfire Council Hosts Free Film and Discussion on Climate Change and Wildfire Risk Oct. 6

Photo of two firefighters at a wildfire.

Free film screening of “Unacceptable Risk” followed by panel discussion Thursday evening at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge

Sophia Cinnamon, Project Director, Unacceptable Risk

Dan Schroder, CSU Extension Director

SUMMIT COUNTY - As cooler weather moves across the state, wildfire is still a hot topic in Summit County. Summit County Wildfire Council and Summit County CSU Extension have partnered with Working Films to show the short film “Unacceptable Risk” from 6:30-8 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 6 at Colorado Mountain College in Breckenridge.

The film details the relationship between climate change and extreme wildland fire behavior in Colorado and highlights the real impacts on firefighters. A panel discussion will follow the screening, with a focus on Colorado’s shifting fire regime and local solutions.

“As we saw last month with the French Gulch Fire, wildfire is a very real threat in Summit County,” CSU Extension Director Dan Schroder said. “So it’s important for us to understand the risks and how to mitigate them.”

In the documentary, Don Whittemore, a veteran wildland firefighter and incident commander speaks about his experience on the 2002 Hayman Fire, the most devastating fire in Colorado’s history.

“We are being confronted and asked to suppress fires that didn’t exist 20 year ago,” Whittemore said. “The combination of drought-stressed trees, lack of spring moisture and higher-than-normal temperatures is shifting the fire environment.”

Whittemore and other firefighters share their stories about how they have witnessed fire behavior change in their lifetimes and how these unexpected changes are creating a larger life-safety issue. This new normal on the fireline corresponds with what scientists have observed: that warming temperatures have led to a cascade of impacts that affect the fire regime in the West.

Following the film screening, a panel discussion will focus on field experiences and risk mitigation from local wildfire experts.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the fire community and the public to discuss challenges and solutions to the growing wildfire problem in the West,” Schroder said.

Panelists include the following local experts:-Captain Matt Benedict, Red, White and Blue Fire
-Firefighter Dan Ross, Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue-Public Information Officer Steve Lipsher, Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue
-Wildfire Mitigation Specialist Doug Cupp, Summit County CSU Extension-Deputy District Ranger Adam Bianchi, Dillon Ranger District.

The event is free and open to the public. It will take place in the Eileen and Paul Finkel Auditorium at CMC, 107 Denison Placer Rd., Breckenridge.


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