Eagle County earns fire mitigation award
Eagle Valley Wildland, along with Fire Mitigation Specialist Eric Lovgren, were chosen to receive the 2023 Wildfire Mitigation Awards. Eagle Valley Wildland won the organization award, and Lovgren was recognized for his innovation and leadership in wildfire mitigation.
“It’s an honor for Eagle County to receive national recognition in the field of wildfire mitigation,” Eagle County Director of Emergency Management Birch Barron said. “Eric’s dedication and innovation extend beyond Eagle County to the entire state through Fire Adapted Colorado, of which he is a founding board member and current chairperson. He continues to innovate and inspire others to envision even better systems and programs for wildfire mitigation.”
Eagle Valley Wildland represents a partnership between Greater Eagle Fire, Gypsum Fire, Eagle River Fire, and Eagle County to coordinate and collaborate on wildfire mitigation efforts. As a result of this partnership, Eagle Valley Wildland tripled the number of acres of fuel reduction treatments in the county. The group worked with community members to reduce wildfire risk on private land through property assessments and home-hardening projects. Over the past two years, more than 100 individual property owners and 25 homeowner associations have implemented risk reduction work.
Eagle Valley Wildland also established a Neighborhood Ambassador Program to promote community wildfire adaptation at a local level. The program now has 15 volunteer ambassadors working with Eagle Valley Wildland staff to implement chipping days, fuel breaks, and educational events in their respective communities.
Lovgren expanded Eagle County’s wildfire mitigation efforts from a building enforcement role to an emergency management role. He helped design and launch REALFire, a voluntary home assessment program led by Realtors, and the Community Wildfire Planning Center. Lovgren conducted 423 private property assessments, and also trained other assessors to broaden the scope of the program. His work has statewide influence through Fire Adapted Colorado.
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The Wildfire Mitigation Awards program was established in 2014 by the National Association of State Foresters, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the National Fire Protection Association, and the U.S. Forest Service to help demonstrate the societal value wildfire mitigation efforts provide.
For a free property assessment, go to RealFire.net.