• No meeting next week.  Come to our social event at CO Jones Mountain Lodge 5:00PM Wednesday July 31.
  • Dean announced that a suggestion was made at the board meeting for our members to have a CV/Resume.  Lee mentioned that there is a place on each member's ClubRunner profile to enter their biography.  Club members can review each other's biographies by viewing the respective member's profile page.
  • Dean mentioned that the budget for this coming year is in work.
  • Marlis is working on current By-Laws for the club.
  • Yvonne asked morning meeting members to please contact her to sign up to provide breakfast on the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of the month.  The club will reimburse expenses for breakfast setup.
  • Club members please log your Rotary volunteer hours on the meeting sign-in sheets.  The District uses that information to show how much Rotary work our clubs do.
  • Contact Joyce Snapp to help with our Rotary scholarship program, reference the email she sent to everyone.
Program:  Bill McLaughlin, Elk Creek Fire Chief
Our own Bill MCLaughlin provided a serious look at the state of the wildfire prevention and firefighting funding available for our area now and into the future.  He segmented the issues facing our fire departments into three areas, Growth Projects, Wildfire Risk, and Challenges.
Growth Projects:
There is much interest by builders and contractors to build new construction single and multi-family units in our area.  Currently, projects requested by builders would increase the local population by 20%.  The transportation infrastructure in our community is already strained by the population we have.  First responders are averaging one accident per day on US285 now, the Kings Valley intersection had four accidents in the past two weeks alone.
Wildfire Risk:
Home losses to wildfire have increased substantially in the past 20 years.  Last year, there were 450 homes lost in Colorado alone, that is the same number that were lost throughout the entire country a mere 20 years ago.  Wildfire risk has reached such a high level that fire departments must resort to procedures for evacuating residents from areas that they cannot protect.  Home construction must be improved to limit fire risk from an adjacent home.  The California fire in Paradise last year quickly became a house to house conflagration.  Photos taken after the catastrophe show all houses burned to the ground yet trees remained standing.  That fire cost $200 million to fight the fire, $1 billion in economic losses and the future economy of that community will be devastated.  Up to 90% of the Paradise residents say they will not return.  For our Colorado area, weather systems have a very large effect on wildfire risk and the ability to fight wildfires.  The Hayman Fire claimed 16 miles of territory in only 6 hours, caused by winds.  Firefighters can only hope to evacuate residents in time to save lives, there is little chance of firefighting in dry, windy conditions.
There are a few things going well: the Elk Creek Fire Department chipping program has helped over 1500 homeowners mitigate their properties.  In addition, there is a 10 man fire mitigation crew at the fire department.  Third, the slash collection program is collecting loads of slash from residents, more information about slash collection is available at
Funding challenges caused by the Tabor Amendment will cause most of the mitigation efforts to loose funding after this year.  The Gallagher Amendment is forcing a $350,000 cut from the firefighting budget.  Elk Creek has already reduced their ambulance staff and may possibly have to stop service if the funding problem is not resolved.  That will force Conifer residents to have to use ambulance service from Denver suburbs.  Medicare and Medicaid only pay ~10% of the cost to operate the ambulance, the other 90% must be funded from other sources.
The mill levy passed in 2013 will sunset (go away) at the end of 2022.  It raised the mill levy for our fire department from 4.97 to 7.47 for 10 years.  Even at that level, our Elk Creek Fire Department has the lowest funding of any department on the front range.  In some cases, it is half what other departments receive.
Other challenges are caused by changes in demographics.  The numbers of volunteers are steadily dropping, the average turnout for a structure fire this year is seven people.  That is too few to be effective.  In addition, the mill levy impact will force the department to close smaller stations and ambulance service response will be slower.  As mentioned previously, we could even lose ambulance service.
Contact Bill directly if you would like a copy of his interesting slides from the presentation.