Mowing has been timed to provide the greatest opportunity to help reduce wildfire risks while minimizing impacts to sensitive wildlife and plant habitats.

The City of Boulder will begin a pilot a Perimeter Mowing Program this summer to mow a 30-foot strip of open space land next to four neighborhoods as part of citywide efforts to reduce wildfire risks in our community.

Open Space and Mountain Parks’ (OSMP’s) pilot mowing program is planned twice this year in open space areas next to the Dakota Ridge, Wonderland Lake, Chautauqua and Devil’s Thumb/Shanahan Ridge neighborhoods, all of which are located in what is known as the Wildland Urban Interface. This interface, mostly along the western side of the city, is the area where undeveloped lands meet the places people live and work in Boulder. These areas have higher wildfire risks.

In selecting the locations for the pilot mowing program, OSMP considered wildfire risk mapping, open space ecological data, structure density information, the proximity of homes to city-managed open space. Planned mowing aims to reduce grass vegetation down to 4 to 6 inches in height and will occur in June/July and then again in September/October. Those are times of the year when mowing will provide the greatest opportunity to help reduce wildfire risks while minimizing impacts to sensitive wildlife and plant habitats.

Boulder Bridge House Ready to Work hand crews will complete mowing operations with guidance from OSMP wildfire and ecological staff. Later this year, Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) staff will assess mowing effectiveness to help inform the development of a permanent Perimeter Mowing Program.

OSMP will host community informational sessions to answer questions about the planned mowing pilot program, as well as other wildfire risk management and wildfire preparedness efforts. The department has posted information about upcoming meetings through its “Open Space Wildfire Risk Management” webpage.

The mowing pilot will complement current risk reduction strategies used in Boulder, which include tree thinning, prescribed burning, livestock grazing, invasive weed removal, wildfire home assessments and community wildfire preparedness. The cost of the operations will be covered by wildfire resilience revenue that Boulder voters approved as part of the Climate Action Plan Tax in 2022.

Additional risk reduction and resilience strategies are being considered as part of the development of a comprehensive Community Wildfire Protection Plan. The city has been gathering community feedback to inform the plan since August 2023. More details about the recommendations will be shared with the public and with Boulder City Council later this spring.