site map   |  privacy   |  disclaimer 
  Home | HOA | Committees | Downloads | Social Events | FAQ | Calendar | Feedback | Links| GuestbookPhoto GalleryWant Ads | BTRHOA CWPP |
                 BTRHOA CWPP


The complete BTR CWPP plan can be accessed at:

Fuels Hazard Assessment
(Back to Top of Page)


Burning Tree Ranch Subdivision Fuels Hazard Assessment

May 23, 2008


A baseline roadside and aerial photo assessment of the fuels hazard was conducted by the Wildfire Mitigation Staff at the Douglas County Building Division. The initial results are as follows. If you would like a more detailed wildfire hazard assessment and mitigation prescription to reduce the fuel hazard level on your property you may contact the Wildfire Mitigation Staff at the Douglas County building Division. The Mitigation Staff are professional Foresters and provide this service at no charge. You are also under no obligation to perform any elements of the prescription. You can contact Jill Alexander at 303-660-7497 x 2234, 303-880-5252, or


The Burning Tree Ranch Subdivision is characterized by a typical Front Range ponderosa pine forest with a Gambel oak understory. There are also large native grassy areas intermixed. A small portion of the site contains an oak grass mix or just grass. 


Overall, the ponderosa pines appear to be healthy at this time. However, there is overstocking which is prime condition for insect, bark beetle infestation. I did see a handful of scattered dead trees; some looked to be old beetle kill, and some roadside kill possibly due to magnesium chloride. There is a component of smaller suppressed trees, growing underneath larger, healthier trees. There are clumps of regeneration that have not been thinned out. The healthy, more dominant ponderosa pines have good form and crown ratios. A lot of the ponderosa pines are not very tall, less than 20ft. It is important to keep in mind that healthy trees have cones, cones have seeds and seeds lead to new trees.


Unhealthy trees, trees that are suppressed, have poor form and poor crown ratios are robbing healthy trees of water and essential nutrients. These trees are the ones that are often snow bent, and look like they are growing sideways trying to reach for some sunlight. The trees need to be thinned out so that all are not suppressed and become susceptible to insect and disease outbreaks and die. Trees should be thinned to provide adequate spacing between the stems, and the crowns. Trees need room to grow. A healthy forest is one that contains multiple, compatible species of trees of differing age classes.


The Gambel oak throughout the neighborhood is not as healthy as the pines. There are heavy concentrations of dead oak. Dead is a very dangerous fuel component.  There are also smaller concentrations of healthy oak throughout the community. There are a variety of age classes present for the oak, most notably on lots where oak management has taken place.  A majority of the oak is almost as tall as or taller than a significant number of pines. Some of this oak is choking out the pines, and interfering with their growth.


The fuels loading is in high hazardous concentrations along part of the southern and western subdivision boundaries, and in patches throughout the subdivision. The horizontal and vertical continuity of fuel concentrations present can lead to severe fire behavior. Present fuel loading can lead to fire behavior that destroys all of the present vegetation as well as severely impact soil stability and productivity.



General Mitigation/Hazardous Fuels Reduction Prescription


To reduce the amount of hazardous fuels on the lots, the density and the continuity of the fuel must be broken up.


Mitigation or any hazardous fuels reduction should begin by creating a defensible space around the house and accessory structures if they are to be defendable during a wildland fire event.


Zone 1, All vegetation within 15ft of the structure should be removed. If it cannot be removed or it not reasonable to remove it, then it should be treated as part of the structure for determining minimum distances away from structures.  All vegetation hanging over the house should be removed so needles and leaves do not build up in the gutters or on roof tops.


Zone 2, Minimum 70ft on a flat lot. This zone increases with increasing topography. Consider this zone a zone of modification. Mature pines should be limbed approximately 10ft above the ground.  You also want to eliminate contact with any vegetation growing under the drip line of the trees. All ladder fuels should be removed within this zone. Trees within this zone should have a minimum 10’ spacing between the crowns. Vegetation should be visibly thinned and well spaced, so that if a fire were traveling through this zone to a structure it would be knocked back, and would travel more slowly towards the structure, giving emergency service personnel the support they need to try to defend structures.


Oak can be present in small thinned clumps. Oak clump spacing should be approximately 2 ½ x the height of the clump between clumps. Stems should be thinned to maintain a 3ft to 5ft stem spacing between stems and limb stems 2’ to 3’ above the ground. Stems should be “tree-like”. All dead stems should be removed. Stems should not be topped; they should be cut off at ground level.


Zone 3, Is a transition zone to a more natural ecosystem management approach than defensible space. This zone extends from the edge of your defensible space to the property lines. Maintain a tree density that will benefit forest health and protect from insect infestation. Remove overcrowded, suppressed trees that are not growing well. Remove contact with ground and ladder fuels. You don’t need to remove the ground or ladder fuels completely.


Oak in this zone should be clumped and thinned. A significant portion of the oak is dead. Residents are encouraged to remove the dead oak. Dead stems need to be cut off at ground level. In most cases mechanical removal of the dead material is most economical and efficient. However, once the dead oak is removed it will sucker and new growth will be rapid. Keep in mind that oak requires maintenance, just like mowing grasses. A lot of the oak present is hindering the growth of smaller trees.


Healthy oak should be clumped and/or thinned. Dominant stems should be retained and a 3ft to 5ft stem spacing provided so stems are encouraged to grow in diameter instead of just in height.


For more information contact the wildfire mitigation staff foresters or the Franktown District of the Colorado State Forest Service (CSFS). You can also check out




Download the Douglas County Microsoft Power Point presentation on wildfire mitigation for homeowners here:  Douglas County Wildfire Mitigation MS Power Point Presentation

 Note: Depending on your operating system; you can download this file by either clicking on the link provided and waiting for the menu to save the file or by right clicking on the link with your mouse and then clkicking on "Save Target As" option.  If you have any difficulties download this file please send me an email at and I will be happy to forward the file to you.


Don't have Microsoft Power worries!  Download the free MS Power Point viewer here:  Free MS Power Point Viewer




Burning Tree Ranch Fuels Hazard Map (Back to Top of Page)





Burning Tree Ranch Aerial Map (Back to Top of Page)