The Black Forest Slash & Mulch program, a wildfire mitigation and recycling program aimed at trying to prevent wildfires in the Black Forest, is inviting the public to join them this weekend for a free community meeting.
The annual event is open to all, whether or not they live in Black Forest, said Carolyn Brown, one of the program’s directors.
“We just want to make people aware of the importance of cleaning up the forest as well as wildfire mitigation,” Brown said. “We are not political and we don’t take sides. This is simply a very good opportunity for people to come and learn the essentials of wildfire mitigation and forest cleanup.”
Brown said speakers will address a wide range of issues, including the following:
• Dave Root, a Colorado State Forest Service forester, will address various topics, including transplanting trees.
• Doug Higgins of Northwoods Equipment, a certified sawyer, will speak on chainsaw safety.
• Judy von Ahlefeldt will address a possible ips beetle problem.
• Black Forest Together will talk about their tree planting program, which transplants new and healthy trees back into the Black Forest at property burned in the 2013 Black Forest Fire.
• Tina Travis, an El Paso County environmental technician, will discuss noxious weeds.
The meeting is set for Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Black Forest Community Center, 12530 Black Forest Road.
The purpose of the meeting is three-fold: encourage residents to clean up the forest by providing a place to bring their slash and pick up mulch; to motivate and educate the community; and to encourage residents to volunteer at the site to help provide the slash and mulch service, which helps mitigate wildfires and promotes recycling.
Additionally, raffle and door prizes will be distributed throughout the meeting. Raffle items include tools useful for wildfire mitigation, like pitchforks and a Stihl chainsaw.
The meeting is co-sponsored by the Colorado Forestry Association, the El Paso County Community Services Department, the Black Forest Fire Department and the Black Forest Slash and Mulch Committee in cooperation with the Colorado State Forest Service and the Colorado State Land Board.
The Black Forest Slash/Mulch program is also seeking volunteers to fill open shifts. Interested persons should visit bfslash.org and click on the “Pls Volunteer” button on the homepage to register online, or contact Carolyn Brown at 495-3127 to sign up or for more information on volunteer opportunities.