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Tribe takes active role in fire safety

The Boulder County Type II Initial Attack Crew is a combination of wildland firefighters from different departments around Boulder County. They were brought into the area to assist our BIA Southern Ute Agency fire team to suppress fires on the reservation that occurred in the first week of June. Once those fires subsided, the firefighters assisted on the 416 Fire in neighboring La Plata County. On Tuesday, June 19 the team assisted with the Wildland Fire Safety meeting held at the Southern Ute Multi-Purpose Facility.
Photo Credit: Precious Collins | PF Safety Team

With the Southern Ute Indian Reservation being on Stage II fire restrictions and the drought bringing extremely dry conditions to the region, The Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s Risk Management and Permanent Fund’s Safety Team is helping tribal members prevent devastating fires near their homes on the reservation.

“Right now, La Plata county is on Stage III Fire Restrictions. This is the first time in history that Stage III fire restrictions have been imposed,” stated Risk Management Coordinator Donald Brockus.

On Tuesday, June 12, The Southern Ute Indian Tribe held an educational meeting regarding Wildfire Safety at the Southern Ute Multi-Purpose Facility. Short presentations were done in a collaborative effort between the Los Pinos Fire Department, Firewise of Southwest Colorado and the BIA Southern Ute Agency Fuels Management. Speakers who are specialists in the areas of fire, wildland fires and who evaluate fire dangers, were available to give information regarding the different stage restrictions and how to get your property evaluated for fire danger. Topics discussed at the training included:


  • how to prevent fires and fire restrictions.
  • how to make your home defensible in the event a fire approaches.
  • how to manage fuels around the property and federal programs to help you do that.
  • how to react and what to take if a fire approaches your home.


With all of Colorado being on a high fire alert, Firewise of Southwest Colorado has taken steps to help our community. Firewise of SW Colorado’s purpose is to provide wildland fire education, motivate homeowners and communities to take an active role in preparing for wildfires and to facilitate information sharing across agencies within the region. Firewise is also helping The Southern Ute Indian Tribe and its members with on the ground mitigation efforts.

Southern Ute elders are the top priority in this fire readiness stage. The Tribe’s main goal is to help elders create defensible space around their homes which includes having Firewise come out and evaluate fire dangers with the hopes of having the tribal departments come out and remove extremely flammable and dangerous debris such as trees, brush, weeds and other fire fuels.

Even though the mitigation efforts are mainly geared toward tribal elders, the rest of the tribal membership is not left out. Firewise is planning on helping with mitigation and planning efforts, and the Tribe is hoping to get a grant that can help fund the implementation of these planning efforts.

“Working with Risk Management, the Permanent Fund Safety Team wanted to highlight and bring awareness to the membership, especially the elders about the fire hazards this summer. We recognize that other towns have been already doing wildland fire mitigation meetings and we thought it would be good for us to try to bring that here for the tribal membership,” said Permanent Fund Safety Team Chairman, Precious Collins.

“We hope that in the future, we will provide more material, such as the Colorado State Forest Service quick guide. We couldn’t have done it without the support of the Executive Office, the Tribe, the PF Safety Team and the professionals who came out and spoke. Also, thank you to Multi-Purpose Facility,” she said.


The application deadline to get home site inspections and plans prepared was Tuesday, June 19. Never-the-less, if you are still interested in having that completed please contact Risk Management Coordinator, Donald Brockus directly at 970-563-0100 or Applications will be approved on a case-by-case basis.

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