Chainsaw team helps with post-fire cleanup in Colorado

A chainsaw team from Central Baptist Association in Kansas helped with forest conservation efforts after the devastating Colorado wildfire earlier this summer.

Team members worked in late August at Eagle Lake Camp, a Navigators’ facility northwest of Colorado Springs. They worked at 9,100-feet elevation, felling burnt trees to help prevent erosion.

The team also faced the challenge of carrying their equipment and provisions about 500 yards up the mountain. This came at the point where travel in a four-wheel-drive vehicle became unsafe.

Don Arnold, one of the team members, said, “I’ve never witnessed the devastation of a forest fire until now. The Waldo canyon fires came within about 100 yards from Eagle Lake Camp.

“Huge camp facilities were spared from the destruction. But the surrounding forest, now burnt, will likely slide into the lake if mediation is not conducted before winter.”

The Central Association team worked on “felling burnt trees (mostly pine and aspen) in a fashion to prevent erosion. Think of using hay bales on a sloped yard; in this case the felled trees act like the hay bales and the slope is the side of a mountain,” Arnold wrote in an e-mail update while the team was in Colorado.

“It is a formidable task to safely cut the trees and lay them down with precision in this terrain.

“I’m glad to say we cleared hundred of trees, some sizeable ( 20- to 24 inch 30- to 40 feet tall), toted hundreds of pounds of gear and supplies up and down the mountain side, dodged several thunderstorms, all with no injuries,” Arnold continued.

“Additionally, I was so impressed with the ambition, endurance, service-minded brothers and sisters in Christ. These are just regular folks that have their health and a will to serve.”

Jeff Thomson from Hutchinson coordinated the trip. He is disaster-relief director for Central Baptist Association.