2023 Routt County Wildfire Mitigation Conference

Conference Dates

April 27 – 29, 2023

Our annual conference began this year with a screening of Elemental, an award-winning documentary that challenged us to reimagine our relationship with wildfire.  This opening night event took place on Thursday 4/27, co-hosted by and presented at the Bud Werner Library in Steamboat Springs.  It was a great conversation starter, particularly as we consider the variety of solutions available to us.

The theme for our 2023 conference was “From Planning to Implementation for a Fire-Adapted Future,” designed around the anticipated publication of the Routt County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP).

On Friday 4/28, stakeholders gathered at Colorado Mountain College (CMC) to discuss regional priorities throughout the County, as well as ideas and best practices for CWPP implementation.  We heard from each of the Fire District Chiefs, Todd Carr with the Routt County Building Department, and Doug Green from Headwaters Economics on the important role that land use planning and Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) building codes play in making vulnerable communities more resilient.  Chad Julien from the Colorado State Forest Service showed us how enhanced fire modeling effectively tells us that there is nowhere in Routt County that is 100% safe from the threat of wildfire… not even downtown Steamboat where there tends to be an assumption of safety in some circles.

We opened the doors of the Allbright Family Auditorium (CMC) to the public on Saturday 4/29 and spent some time on the fire outlook for 2023, with Chad Julien again driving the point that newer fire modeling paints an eye-opening picture and new reality to consider. We talked to some of the fire chiefs and Bill Trimarco from Wildfire Adapted Partnership about Ambassador programs and why community involvement is the key to any successful mitigation strategy.  And Doug Green spoke about the challenges and benefits of moving to a fire-adapted existence and what steps need to be taken on a homeowner level and community level.

For context, Routt County was recently witness to two wildfires within its boundaries, in both North and South Routt, with some loss of structures. Fire is and will continue to be part of our environment and we all are exposed to some risk, no matter who we are or where we live. Increased fire frequency and intensity is the reality, and the complex challenge of managing, mitigating and living with those fires continues to be at the forefront of our minds.

Our annual conference is an effort of the Routt County Wildfire Mitigation Council to promote public awareness and understanding of wildfire risk, to foster community-driven action that will ultimately reduce risk and the impacts of wildfire in Routt County.

Past Events

2022 Conference

At the 2022 Routt County Wildfire Mitigation Conference, attendees created personal and home wildfire readiness plans. The goal was for attendees to walk away with an action plan for initial mitigation around their homes and a personal evacuation plan for the event of a wildfire.

Conference Packet

Day One

Welcome Remarks Day 1 – Tim Redmond
Setting the Stage – Matt McCombs
Where are we now with the Natural Environment – Panel
Where are we now with the Built Environment – Panel
Building Community Through Wildfire Resilience – Greg Felt
What do we want from a CWPP – Pam Wilson
Wrap-up of Day 1 – Matt McCombs

Day Two

Outlook for the 2022 Wildfire Season – Coleen Haskell
Lessons Learned from the 2021 Season – Panel
Personal and Community Preparedness – Pam Wilson
Home Ignition Zone Preparedness
Breakout Groups
Co-existing with Wildfire Takes a Community – Tony Cheng

2021 Conference

​The 2020 wildfire season was another record breaker. Routt County was surrounded by wildfires and was witness to the incredible destruction in nearby Grand and Jackson County.
Hear local local and regional experts present on steps that we all can take to mitigate risks and be prepared in the face of a wildfire from the 2021 Conference.

Conference Packet

Conference Webinars