Peak 7 Hazardous Fuels Reduction
The Colorado State Forest Service, in partnership with the US Forest Service (USFS) and Summit County, is continuing fuels reduction projects in the Peak 7 neighborhood with Peak 7 Phase II. Work is projected to start the summer 2021, continue until the winter, and then be completed by end of summer 2022. This project adheres to the 2011 Breckenridge Forest Health and Fuels Environmental Assessment and design criteria, went through a public process, was re-evaluated in 2020 due to public desires, and has been carried out with consultation from the US Forest Service’s Wildlife Biologist, Fisheries Biologist, Hydrologist, and Fuels Planner.
The 38-acre Peak 7 Phase I project was completed in the fall of 2020 and reduced fuel loading on the steep-slopes off Blue Ridge Road.
The goal of the Peak 7 Phase II project is to connect, strengthen, and build upon the series of fuel breaks around the Peak 7 neighborhood. The project will reduce the volume and connectivity of fuels within the project area and reduce wildfire hazards to the adjacent neighborhood and greater Breckenridge community. The cutting of live and dead trees mimics the ecological effects of a fire, which the forest is adapted to, and will reduce fire intensity to where firefighters can safely engage in fire suppression activities in the event of a wildland fire.
The fuels mitigation project is on 97 acres of National Forest land and consists of several different prescriptions that fit the specific forest conditions. Clearcut with Leave Tree (CC w/ LT) is the most widely used prescription and will be utilized in lodgepole dominated areas. Generally, all live and dead trees above 5 inches diameter at breast height (DBH) will be cut. Trees less than 5” DBH that are not diseased or unhealthy and have a 60% live crown ratio or more will be retained. The project cutting boundary largely stays outside of tree stands that are predominately Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir; however, strategic areas will have lodgepole encroachment treated (CC w/ LT - LP w/out Removal, CC w/ LT – ES & TF Greater Than 8”). Also, live spruce and fir will be cut according to diameter limits/specs in lodgepole pine CC w/ LT areas. Wetlands will not be entered and live trees will also be retained around these wetter areas (Dead Only, Dead Only w/out Removal). Other isolated live trees may need to be cut to facilitate operations.
Both mechanized forestry equipment and hand work (chainsaws) will be utilized. Roughly 80% of the project area will have merchantable material removed, but hand piles will have to be created in some areas (due to access limitations). These hand piles will be burned by USFS crews when there is significant snow coverage in the following winters.
All operations (cutting, loading, hauling, etc.) may take place between 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Local drivers should use caution, as contractor traffic and log trucks may impact the roads during project work hours. The Peaks Trail briefly crosses through the project area (Unit 9), as well as other local trails. Temporary trail closures can be expected when operations are occurring near the trail systems. Please do not approach work crews when equipment is running, as falling trees can cause serious injury or death.