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PARK CITY, Utah. — On Tuesday, Basin Recreation’s Open Space Management Supervisor, Jess Kirby, received one of three awards distributed nationwide for excellence in wildfire mitigation efforts from the National Association of State Foresters for Wildfire Mitigation (NASF). The award was established in 2014 to express appreciation of employees’ dedication and “to help demonstrate the tremendous societal value wildfire mitigation efforts provide,” according to the NASF.
Kirby’s accomplishments in open space management for the Snyderville Basin Recreation District were highlighted by the NASF in an announcement:
- Kirby oversees 2,300 acres of trails and forest within the Snyderville Basin Recreation District
- Her community outreach efforts have encouraged the public to take the Firewise USA program to educate and inform about wildfire risk
- She’s worked on enhancing an emergency access route between three communities in Summit County
- The creation of Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPP)
“Having lost her own home to wildfire several years ago, Jessica understands the urgency of addressing wildfire risk,” the NASF said in a statement about its award recipients. “She has made it her goal to protect Communities at Risk from wildfire.”
Q + A with Jess Kirby:
How long have you been with Basin Rec.? In Park City?
I joined Basin Recreation full time in 2015 with the purpose of creating and implementing a productive open space program for the District and to bring strategic vision to the management of our protected recreational open space parcels. Originally from the Colorado Front Range, our family moved to Utah in 2003. After 3 years in Logan and 6 years in Sandy, we migrated up Canyon and for nine years Park City has been our home.
How does it feel to have all your hard work pay off?
It is a great honor to have received such a high level of recognition for this project! Everyone plays a role in their own safety when it comes to wildfire preparedness within a Wildfire Urban Interface (WUI). As landowners within the WUI, Basin Recreation is doing our part to be good neighbors and good stewards of our recreational open space by implementing projects like this. The Wildfire Mitigation award recognizes the extra step that I took, to not only reduce fuels on our open space properties but to engage the community and start a much-needed dialog in support of forest management and wildfire mitigation in the Park City area. We could not have been successful without our partners such as PJ Abraham and Travis Wright with the State of Utah Forest Fire and State Lands, the ongoing support of Summit County Leadership and Council, and financial support from the residents of Snyderville Basin and the Utah Watershed Restoration Initiative grant.
What are your next goals for the Snyderville Basin Recreation District’s wildfire mitigation efforts?
Wildfire mitigation and forest health management is an ongoing management task for Basin Recreation. The work completed in 2020 is phase one of a multi-year project. Additional mitigation and forest health treatments are currently planned to occur in the Summit Park Area starting Fall 2021. Slash pile burning will also be ongoing. Treatment areas require maintenance, every 3-5 years, to ensure their long-lasting effect. Retreatments focus on understory regrowth, keeping ladder fuels suppressed.