Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan

This draft of the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan contains the updates and revisions the Planning Committee has made to the 2016 document.

The Office of Emergency Management encourages you to review this draft and join the discussion on our Facebook page where your comments and questions will help our community further develop the plan.

Boulder Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan and the Natural Hazard Mitigation update report 2018

Our Natural Hazards Mitigation Plan can help bring funds to Boulder County

By updating our Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan, we are making our county eligible for FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs which provide funds for mitigation activities that reduce losses from disasters and protect life and property.

The HMA grant programs provide funding opportunities for mitigation activities both before and after a disaster:

  • The Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program provides funds on an annual basis for hazard mitigation planning and mitigation projects prior to a disaster. Goals of this program are to reduce overall risk to the population and structures while also reducing reliance on federal funding from actual disaster declarations.
  • The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides funds for long-term hazard mitigation measures after a Presidentially declared disaster.

As we update our plan, we need to hear from you.

There are three easy ways you can help:

  1. Take this survey! Your answers will help the Planning Committee determine the community’s concerns and questions about the plan and guide discussions during the revision process.
  2. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. The OEM will post regular updates and information about the revision process. These sites will also provide you with a virtual forum in which you can post comments, ask questions, and interact with your Planning Committee representatives.
  3. Attend the public meetings. At least three public meetings will be held during the revision process. These meetings will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about the plan, ask questions and make comments.

Through our multi-hazard mitigation plan survey, we have received great input from residents about the hazards we face in Boulder County and actions we can take to mitigate those hazards. Drought, flood, and wildfire are three hazards of concern in Boulder County.

Below are some ideas residents have shared for mitigating these hazards:

Drought:

  • Require water conservation such as restricted use of public water resources for irrigation, car washing, swimming pools, and other non-essential usage.
  • Encourage drought tolerant landscaping.
  • Improve water delivery systems for increased efficiency.

Flood:

  • Improve drainage capacity.
  • Regular clearing of debris from drainage systems.
  • Infrastructure protection activities such as raising low lying bridges and stabilizing road shoulders and embankments.

Wildfire:

  • Fire resistant construction.
  • Create defensible spaces.
  • Fuel management programs.

What are your thoughts? Visit our Facebook page and share your ideas on how we can reduce or eliminate the effects of these hazards in our community.

Last Updated on Monday, 05 August 2013 14:55

Preliminary results of a survey, which asks residents to comment on multi-hazards and mitigation efforts in their communities, suggest that Boulder County residents are most concerned about wildfire, drought, and flood, and they are taking actions to reduce their risks. The Boulder Office of Emergency Management launched the online survey via its Facebook and Twitter sites on July 16 as part of the revision of Boulder County’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan

Key findings thus far include:

  • When asked to name the three hazards of most concern to them, a majority of respondents listed wildfire, drought, and flood. Other top concerning hazards include lightning, windstorms, winter storms, and West Nile Virus.
  • 78% of respondents indicated that they have taken actions to reduce or eliminate the impact of hazards in their communities. Examples of these actions include:
    • Fire mitigation such as clearing trees and brush, installing metal roofing
    • Preparing personal preparedness plans including alternate evacuation routes
    • Drought mitigation such as water conservation efforts and drought resistant landscaping

Information gathered from the survey will help the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee determine the concerns and questions residents have about the multi-hazards we face in Boulder County, and will guide discussions throughout the revision process.

Residents can still participate in the survey which will remain open through September 20, 2013. The Office of Emergency Management encourages residents to complete the survey and to follow the agency on its Twitter and Facebook pages.

Boulder County’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan identifies the hazards that threaten our communities, evaluates the risks from those hazards, and outlines a strategy to reduce or eliminate that risk. The state and federal governments require communities to complete a hazard mitigation plan and update it every five years in order to be eligible for certain types of disaster assistance and recovery funding. Boulder County’s last hazard mitigation plan was adopted in 2016.

History of Hazards in Boulder County

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 18:11

In Boulder County we are familiar with the multi-hazards of fire and flood. But we are at risk from other hazards, too. Winter storms, lightning, tornados, and even earthquakes have the potential of causing damage to property and injury to people in our communities.

Boulder County’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan identifies the types of hazards that threaten our communities, evaluates the risks from those hazards, and outlines a strategy to reduce or eliminate that risk. The plan covers 18 different hazards from avalanches to windstorms.

The Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee is currently updating and revising the plan which was last adopted in 2016. As part of the process to evaluate the risks posed by different hazards the committee will review past occurrences in our communities.

Here is a short history of some of the hazards the plan addresses.

Lightning: Colorado ranks second in the U.S. for the number of lightning fatalities (Florida is first). In the past 30 years, 29 people have been injured by lightning in Boulder County. 4 people have been killed by lightning during that same period.

Hailstorms: Our summer thunderstorms in Boulder County often bring hail. Hailstorms can be very destructive. In 2018, Colorado ranked #1 in the U.S. in hail damage and in 2017 experienced the second most damaging hailstorm in U.S. history, triggering $2.3 billion in damage. On average, 130 hailstorms occur in Colorado each year.

Pandemic Flu: In 1918 hundreds of Coloradans lost their lives to the Spanish Flu outbreak. More than 20 million people died worldwide. Pandemic flu continues to pose a significant threat. As recently as 2010 a new strain of swine flu killed 17,000 worldwide. According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, a severe flu pandemic could affect 30% of our state’s population causing the shutdown of critical services and facilities.

Winter Storms: Severe winter weather is a common hazard in Boulder County. In December of 2006 a severe winter storm dropped 19 inches of snow on Boulder forcing the closure of schools, businesses, roads, and airports, and stranding thousands of holiday travelers. The President declared a snow emergency making Boulder County eligible for more than $275,000 in snow removal costs. Winter storms can bring added hazards in spring when snowmelt can lead to flooding.

Wildfire: Many fire suppression policies of the last century have increased vegetation densities to as much as 100 times their natural state. This increased fuel load coupled with drought, high temperatures, high winds, and an increased human presence results in an environment especially prone to the danger of wildfire. Boulder County’s most destructive wildfire in terms of property loss occurred in 2010 when the Fourmile Fire destroyed 169 homes.

Flood: One of the most destructive floods in the history of our county occurred in 1894. Snowmelt combined with heavy rain caused a flood that destroyed every bridge in Boulder Canyon and covered much of the floodplain in up to 8 feet of water. Boulder County again experienced historical flooding in 2013 when over 18” of rain fell in a matter of days. Although floods can happen at any time, the period of greatest flood risk in Boulder County is from April to September. Wildfires increase the danger of flood by reducing ground cover and altering the soil’s capacity to absorb water. Other changes to the landscape can also increase flood hazards.

Windstorms: According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Boulder County experiences some of the strongest winds in the country. Gusts have been measured as high as 147 miles per hour. In January 1982, a windstorm with gusts comparable to a category 3 hurricane caused minor damage to 40% of all buildings in the City of Boulder, erosion damage to 50,000 acres of farmland, and in total resulted in more than $17 million in damages across the County. Chinook Winds blow from the west, over the Continental Divide, and into the foothills. These winds are generally warm and dry and can contribute to wildfire hazards.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 July 2013 11:51

Churches and faith based organizations have a vital role in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters in our community. They have a unique understanding of the needs and vulnerabilities in their communities. The Boulder County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan aims to reduce or eliminate the impact of a disaster and increase the resiliency of our community. The input of churches and faith based organizations is important to the development of this plan.

Boulder County’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan identifies the types of hazards that threaten our communities, evaluates the risks from those hazards, and outlines a strategy to reduce or eliminate that risk. The state and federal governments require communities to complete a Hazard Mitigation Plan and update it every five years in order to be eligible for certain types of disaster assistance and recovery funding.

Our current plan was originally adopted in 2016. The Boulder County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee is in the process of updating the plan and needs input from our churches and faith based organizations.

There are three easy ways you can help:

  1. Take this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HWKB9QH. This survey will help the Natural Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee determine the community’s concerns and questions about the HMP and guide discussions during the revision process.
  2. Visit the Boulder Office of Emergency Management’s website http://www.boulderoem.org/natural-hazards-mitigation-plan and like us on Facebook http://facebook.com/BoulderOEM and follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/BoulderOEM. The OEM will post regular updates and information about the revision process. These sites will also provide you with a virtual forum in which you can post comments, ask questions, and interact with your HMP Committee representatives.
  3. Attend the public meetings. At least three public meetings will be held during the revision process. These meetings will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about the HMP, ask questions, and make comments. Watch for meeting announcements on our website, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 13:29

People with access and functional needs have unique and sometimes complex concerns when it comes to preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disasters. As we update our Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan, the Planning Committee needs input from individuals and organizations who best understand these concerns. Your participation in the development of our updated plan will help ensure it is inclusive of our entire community.

Boulder County’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan identifies the types of hazards that threaten our communities, evaluates the risks from those hazards, and outlines a strategy to reduce or eliminate that risk. The state and federal governments require communities to complete a plan and update it every five years in order to be eligible for certain types of disaster assistance and recovery funding.

Our current plan was originally adopted in 2016. The Boulder County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee is in the process of updating the plan and needs input from those with access and functional needs.

There are three easy ways you can help:

  1. Take this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HWKB9QH. This survey will help the Natural Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee determine the community’s concerns and questions about the HMP and guide discussions during the revision process.
  2. Visit the Boulder Office of Emergency Management’s website http://www.boulderoem.org/natural-hazards-mitigation-plan and like us on Facebook http://facebook.com/BoulderOEM and follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/BoulderOEM. The OEM will post regular updates and information about the revision process. These sites will also provide you with a virtual forum in which you can post comments, ask questions, and interact with your HMP Committee representatives.
  3. Attend the public meetings. At least three public meetings will be held during the revision process. These meetings will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about the HMP, ask questions, and make comments. Watch for meeting announcements on our website, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 July 2013 11:52

Do you own or run a business in Boulder County? According to FEMA, 40% of small businesses affected by a disaster never reopen. We are familiar with the hazards of flood and fire in our community. But, there are other hazards that could also occur here. Tornados, severe weather, even earthquakes could strike our county.

Imagine the impact that any of these could have on your business, your employees, your customers, and on our economy. The Boulder County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan aims to reduce or eliminate the impact of a disaster and increase the resiliency of our community. As a member of Boulder’s business community, your input is important to the development of this plan.

Boulder County’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan identifies the types of hazards that threaten our communities, evaluates the risks from those hazards, and outlines a strategy to reduce or eliminate that risk. The state and federal governments require communities to complete a plan and update it every five years in order to be eligible for certain types of disaster assistance and recovery funding.

Our current plan was originally adopted in 2016. The Boulder County Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee is in the process of updating the plan and needs input from our Boulder business community.

There are three easy ways you can help:

  1. Take this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HWKB9QH. This survey will help the Natural Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee determine the community’s concerns and questions about the HMP and guide discussions during the revision process.
  2. Visit the Boulder Office of Emergency Management’s website http://www.boulderoem.org/natural-hazards-mitigation-plan and like us on Facebook http://facebook.com/BoulderOEM and follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/BoulderOEM. The OEM will post regular updates and information about the revision process. These sites will also provide you with a virtual forum in which you can post comments, ask questions, and interact with your HMP Committee representatives.
  3. Attend the public meetings. At least three public meetings will be held during the revision process. These meetings will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about the HMP, ask questions, and make comments. Watch for meeting announcements on our website, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan

Last Updated on Friday, 02 August 2013 14:50

We need your input!

The Boulder Office of Emergency Management is using social media to gather public input on the revision of the County’s Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan. Get started by clicking here to complete a short survey about hazards in your community. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to receive updates and continue providing feedback throughout the plan revision process.

The Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan, originally drafted in 2016, identifies the types of hazards that threaten Boulder County and outlines strategies for the county and local governments to reduce or eliminate the impact of those threats. FEMA requires the county to complete a hazard mitigation plan and to revise and update it every 5 years in order to be eligible for certain types of disaster assistance and recovery funding.

The Boulder Office of Emergency Management began the revision process in July with a kick-off meeting for members of the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee made up of representatives from local governments and key agencies. The committee will reassess the hazards identified in the original 2016 document, evaluate the vulnerabilities to those hazards, and develop mitigation strategies to address them.

The Boulder Office of Emergency Management considers public participation vital to the revision process because it raises awareness of the hazards facing Boulder County and the efforts needed to reduce or eliminate the impact of those hazards. The Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee will consider all input from the public and integrate it into the plan where appropriate.

FAQ – Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 July 2013 18:13

A. Hazard mitigation is any action taken to reduce or eliminate the risk to human life and property from multi-hazards. We know that certain hazards, such as floods and fire, will likely occur repeatedly in our community. Our efforts to reduce the impact of these hazards constitute hazard mitigation.

A. A Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan is a framework that guides our communities in making decisions and developing policies to reduce or eliminate risk to life and property. The plan identifies the types of hazards that threaten our communities, evaluates our vulnerability to those threats, and outlines a strategy to reduce or eliminate the risk posed by those threats. The state and federal governments often require communities to complete a Hazard Mitigation Plan in order to be eligible for certain types of disaster assistance and recovery funding.

A. Yes. Boulder County developed the current plan in 2008. As FEMA requires the plan to be updated every 5 years, we are now in the process of updating and revising the 2016 version. The Boulder Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will facilitate a revision process that will review the goals our communities set for themselves in the original plan; note the accomplishments of the past five years and any remaining goals not yet achieved; reassess the hazards we face; and facilitate the setting of new hazard mitigation goals.

A. In many ways the revision process is more important than the plan itself. The Boulder Office of Emergency Management (OEM) will facilitate the process by bringing together partners and stakeholders representing key county, municipal, and non-profit agencies. Representatives from these organizations will make up the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee. The OEM and the Planning Committee will engage the residents of Boulder County through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter as well as through community meetings to get your ideas, questions, comments and concerns. The process is designed to enable agencies, elected officials, and residents to review the goals our communities set for themselves in the original plan; note the accomplishments of the past five years and any remaining goals not yet achieved; reassess the hazards we face; and facilitate the setting of new hazard mitigation goals.

A. Public participation in the revision process is important because it helps raise awareness of the hazards we face in Boulder County and the actions needed to mitigate those hazards. By participating in the revision process you will be taking time to consider the hazards in your community, the impact of those hazards on life and property, actions that need to be taken to reduce that impact, and the priority those actions should take. The Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee will consider all input from the public and integrate it into the plan where appropriate. Your comments, questions, ideas, and concerns to the will have a significant role in the plan’s revision.

  • Take this quick survey. This survey will help the Multi-Hazard Mitigation Planning Committee determine the community’s concerns and questions about the plan and guide discussions during the revision process.
  • Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. The OEM will post regular updates and information about the revision process. These sites will also provide you with a virtual forum in which you can post comments, ask questions, and interact with your Planning Committee representatives.
  • Attend the public meetings. At least three public meetings will be held during the revision process. These meetings will provide you with an opportunity to learn more about the HMP, ask questions, and make comments.