Posted on June 9, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Dangerous fire weather in Western Colorado this weekend.
Fire restrictions in place across much of the region
By Bob Berwyn
Update: The High Park Fire west of Fort Collins is growing fast and several hundred homes have been evacuated.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Some of Colorado’s most destructive wildfires have burned during the month of June and early July, including the Hayman Fire and the Coal Seam fires in 2002. Across many parts of the high country and West Slope, June is the driest month of the year, halfway between the snows of winter and the quenching monsoon rains of late summer.
Windy, dry and hot conditions sometimes persist for several days during the month, and this year is no exception. In fact, with the extremely early snowmelt and a string of months with well-above average temperatures, the stage is set for the possibility of dangerous and rapidly growing fires.
This weekend, visitors and residents to western Colorado need to be especially careful, with a Red Flag fire warning in effect across much of the region. Fire officials say it’s critical that everyone heed the fire restrictions posted for much of western Colorado yesterday. (more…)
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Drought, Environment, forest fires, forests, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news | Tagged: Coal Seam fire, Colorado weather, Hayman Fire, Red Flag warming, South Canyon Fire | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 15, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Fourmile Canyon Fire destroyed 35 percent of homes within fire perimeter
Even widely spaced trees can burn if the crowns extend down to the ground. PHOTO COURTESY MIKE TOMBOLATO.
More wildfires along the Front Range are inevitable, and the Forest Service wants to take lessons learned at the Fourmile Canyon Fire to try and prevent destruction of property and loss of life.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —The U.S. Forest Service says preventing wildfire disasters requires a change of approach, away from costly and “strategically ineffective” efforts aimed at increasing fire protection capabilities. Instead, efforts should be focused toward reducing the ignition potential directly around homes in the wildland-urban interface.
Read more on the effectiveness of forest treatments in the comment section of this post in the New Century of Forest Planning blog.
The findings were part of a preliminary report issued this week on the Fourmile Canyon Fire. More than one-third of the homes within the perimeter the fast-moving fire near Boulder were destroyed, most of them in the first 12 hours of the blaze, according to the preliminary findings. A final peer-reviewed version of the report is scheduled to be published in January.
The condition of the home ignition zone — the design, materials and the maintenance of the home and the area 100 feet around it — was critical to whether a home survived the Fourmile Canyon Fire. Adobe and non-wood homes where homeowners had removed flammable ground material (like pine needles, grass and even wooden decks) were likelier to survive. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, forest fires, Forest health, Summit County news, US Forest Service | Tagged: Colorado, Forest health, Fourmile Canyon fire, Front Range, Hayman Fire, Mark Udall, U.S. Forest Service, Wildfires | Leave a Comment »
Posted on August 11, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
A NASA satellite image shows the footprint of the 140,000-acre Hayman Fire.
New funding to help replant forests and riparian areas in critical watershed
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Restoration of lands scarred by the 2002 Hayman Fire took a big step forward last month, as Aurora Water committed $500,000 to help pay for replanting the area with 200,000 seedlings, as well as revegetating more than 13 miles of streamside riparian habitat with native willows, dogwoods, grasses and sedge.
Rehabilitating the landscape reduces erosion to protect water quality in the streams and rivers. Additional benefits include improved habitat for the endangered Montane Skipper Butterfly, revitalized gold-medal trout fisheries, and the enhancement or creation of 18 miles of recreational trails. Work in the Hayman area is on-going and involves a combination of volunteers, non-profits and contract employees, including the Mile High Youth Corps. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, forest fires, Forest health, forests, rivers, Summit County news, US Forest Service, water | Tagged: Aurora Water, forest fires, forests, Hayman Fire, Hayman Fire restoration, National Forest Foundation, Summit County News, United States Forest Service | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 9, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Bighorn sheep, seen here near Loveland Pass, have been reintroduced in the area burned by the Hayman Wildfire.
Colorado Division of Wildlife transplants 12 animals from the Rampart Range herd
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The largest wildfire in Colorado’s recorded history was a nightmare for residents of the South Platte drainage, destroying 133 homes and causing $40 million in damages, but it also transformed parts of the landscape into a big-game paradise, according to Colorado Division of Wildlife biologists, who recently released a new band of bighorn sheep into the Hayman area.
Click here to see video from the Hayman burn and the bighorn sheep release.
“Bighorn sheep are one of our most prized wildlife species and this was historically bighorn range,” said Janet George, a senior terrestrial biologist with the Division’s Northeast Region. “It is gratifying to be able to do something good by bringing them back to a place like this.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Environment, Summit County Colorado, wildlife | Tagged: bighorn sheep, biodiversity, Colorado, Colorado Department of Natural Resources, Hayman Fire, Rampart Range, Summit County News, wildlife | Leave a Comment »