The Crestone Eagle • August, 2020

Non-profit firewood collaboration for our community

by Mary Lowers & Daniel Johnson of Firewise

In a historic move, Neighbors Helping Neighbors (NHN), the Crestone Energy Fair (CEF), the Baca Fire Department (BFD) and the Firewise Program are joining together in the Community Firewood Program (CFP). The purpose of this endeavor is simple, to provide firewood locally so we can all stay warm this coming winter. In these uncertain times preparing to meet basic needs is a stress-reducer.

Corez Hines of Firewise, BFD and Baca Emergency Services delivered firewood to those in need with help from fellow first responder, Chrissy Lakish this past winter. Corez said, “This is not free firewood for everyone. It is for those who are elderly, disabled, or on a fixed income which prevents them from obtaining firewood.”  Daniel Johnson of the Firewise Program said, “The Firewise team has recently been producing large amounts of wood, donated by local homeowners, who need to reduce their fuel (for fire) load.” NHN helped with firewood to the tune of $7000 last winter and began to get a stash of free wood to distribute. The CEF crew came and chopped up wood for the community woodpile early this summer. Combining our efforts will expedite the service.

Firewise and the BFD have a Title Three Grant which, according to Chrissy Lakish, “funds and facilitates mitigation and educates people on mitigating their property. It allows the team to mitigate private homes and common areas free of charge.” Chrissy Lakish of BFD and Baca Emergency Services told me, “Mitigation is taking place on the Baca Grande five days a week on the greenbelts and at private homes.” The homeowners will often donate mitigation wood from their property. Wood from the greenbelts is bucked and ready for processing into burnable firewood. “We do not take out any trees that are not necessary for fuel reduction. Trees that are fire hazards will be removed. Extra efforts are made to preserve heritage trees from fire by mitigating around them,” Chrissy explained to me.

There will be a free firewood distribution site in town where residents can get wood quickly to get them through a few nights. Some of this wood has already been split, chopped, and stacked thanks to the CEF crew. NHN will be buying wood from the CFP for community members who are in a crisis situation and cannot purchase wood.

There will be various wood packages offered through CFP. Lisa Bodey of CEF told me, “a basic mixed cord of wood will be priced competitively with the market price in the valley.” The group is working on ways to make wood affordable to all.

The CFP will employ local young people, teaching them the firewood business. Classes and other CFP events will be posted on community FB sites, in The Crestone Eagle, and on posted flyers around town. NHN will be tapping into community volunteer energy to get wood delivered.

Orders can be taken early for your winter wood stash with a downpayment. If you have questions, would like to volunteer to deliver wood for NHN, find out more about classes and workshops offered by the BFD and Firewise, want to be a CFP volunteer, or order wood for winter, call 719-256-4185. Please leave a clear message and a good time to call you back. This is a landline so texting will not work. You can email for info at nhncrestoneco@gmail.com.