Landscape pros react to Marshall Fire Email
Written by Colorado Green NOW   
Monday, January 24, 2022 04:00 AM

Colorado Green Now

“It was shocking to see this fire come down to populated areas--and very sad,” said Scott Natter, general manager, L.I.D. Landscapes, that has served the greater Boulder area many years. He lost a property at a higher elevation several years ago and empathizes with victims of this fire. Tom Sunderland, owner, Native Edge Landscapes, Boulder, had a similar reaction. Sunderland, who lives in the foothills north of Boulder, has evacuated or prepared to evacuate several times. He said, “Living up here, we know what to grab and quickly, but in a suburban neighborhood like Rock Creek, evacuation would never have been on our minds.”

Fortunately for both companies, only one employee had any damage--but not so for their clients. Both firms have current and/or previous clients who suffered various degrees of loss. Some lost homes and others lost landscapes.  Most notable was the historic 1880s Marshall Schoolhouse property where Native Edge was in the process of installing the landscape. It was only 300-400 yards east of the fire source, but the structure did not burn. Sunderland thinks the disturbed boundary due to landscape construction led to the structure’s survival.

Both men are familiar with natural disaster. Natter talked about his company’s previous experience with natural disaster following the floods of 2013 in Boulder County.  Nearly 10 years after the flood, clients are still focused on flood mitigation on their properties. “Whether it’s flood or a fire, there will always be ongoing impacts of natural disasters on our urban areas. We can’t control a flooding river or a raging fire, but we can plan accordingly and take precautions to prevent loss.”

With many mountain-area clients in potential fire zones, Sunderland, too, is familiar with designing and installing landscapes to mitigate fire disasters. “After the Calwood Fire in 2020, many clients in the foothills got serious about wildfire mitigation, but finding good solutions can be more challenging than one might think.”

According to both, the Marshall Fire brought a wake-up call to property owners and a call-to-action from the landscape industry. The shock of seeing a devastating wildfire attack urban areas that neither they nor most people expected would ever happen, has been sobering. Both acknowledge the complexities involved in rebuilding after such disasters and they anticipate the landscape industry and others will be compelled to take initiative in mitigating similar disasters in the future.  

Learn more of the insightful perspectives shared by Natter and Sunderland in the March/April issue of Colorado Green magazine.

2024 ALCC Platinum Sponsors