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Old 06-21-2012, 05:08 PM
Location: Southeastern Colorado
319 posts, read 623,215 times
Reputation: 439


Originally Posted by wanneroo View Post
I was looking at the long range accuweather map for next week, mainly because we've had some blazing hot weather and humidity back east and it appears next week the hot air shifts west with unseasonably cool weather here in the east. I expect the fire situation is going to worsen and I think it's going to be a long deal into fall.

I was thinking about coming out to Colorado in a week or so, but I'm not sure with the fire situation.

This is a reasonable consideration, wanneroo. If you can afford to be flexible, it might be worth waiting until October or November. The fire situation isn't going anywhere fast, and nothing ruins a summer vacation like having to evacuate a campground or rec area in the middle of the night, or being forced to stay indoors because of poor air quality and smoke-filled skies.

Even if you don't ecounter fire directly, knowing that a wildland blaze could erupt anywhere, anytime, fostered by lightning or human irresponsibility, tends to dampen one's enjoyment and ability to kick back and relax. I'm sure the Tourism Board would not appreciate my comment, but my neighbors and I feel the threat hanging over our heads -- and we're not even close to any beetle-infested forests. I tend not to live in fear, but now, before I head out of town for more than a day or so, I ponder, "What happens if fire strikes while I'm away?"

Old 06-21-2012, 05:18 PM
2,253 posts, read 5,864,128 times
Reputation: 2615
Wink Living in a natural environment

Good forest management, in the wilderness, is to leave it the hell alone.

With the large (third largest in acreage burned, and threatening to be soon second) High Park Fire, authorities have repeatedly stated that their priority is in protecting structures. Perhaps it should be on the fire, instead. That is a lot of public money and effort diverted to the interests of relatively few private home owners. Each of whom chose such a location, if not what comes along with it.

As for fire fighting techniques, I have my doubts as to their efficacy. By last accounts this fire was about 55% contained, but that means little when such a fire can jump a river or established roads, which it has. Techniques such as blazing artificial fire breaks are not always effective, and always destructive. Throw in the vast quantities of highly toxic fire retardant used (most often to protect structures) and a good question which is worse, the fire or the remedy.

It is often recommended that mountain home owners create a cleared perimeter around their homes. While at times some help, such a suggestion and practice overlooks two things: one, that any real fire is going to ignore your efforts and still incinerate your home (unless built of stone with iron shutters, as has been done elsewhere), and two, that those choosing to live in the forest should respect it—and not "thin" or otherwise chop it down. Those liking such yards would be better off living in a safer and more well-ordered suburbia.

Wilderness is exactly that, even if the U.S. Forest Service and a good many others choose to ignore that mandate and fact. By law official wilderness is supposed to remain "untrammeled" by mankind, which at best is often a bad joke in what they consider "left alone" as. That means no roads, no trails (widely ignored), no man-made incursions or structures of any kind—and certainly no "thinning" of the forest to park-like conditions.

I've seen what the Forest Service considers a forest suitably thinned, and the result nothing left resembling an actual diverse forest ecosystem, nor the remoteness way true wilderness.

Much of this present High Park Fire is reported to encompass private property as well as national forest. If it burns far enough west it will enter officially designated wilderness. Since the Forest Service considers our national forests as a "land of many uses," there is some latitude in such things, in roads, structures existing within, and how all handled. But many lovers of nature might be appalled if the Forest Service, National Park Service and their ilk have their way in eventually "managing" all forests under their care to something not much different than what you can find in downtown Fort Collins.

Politics and vested interest being what they are, this might be difficult, but we should consider coming to a different and more balanced understanding with our forests. Those wishing to live within them should accept the associated risks and responsibilities. Which could mean that policy will largely evolve to leaving the land as is, to burn if it will, to regenerate as it will, and basically considering your home sacrificed should a fire come through. Established towns can be protected, and not much else.

I forecast a grand lack of support for such a proposition, although perhaps all academic. As is, they say this High Park Fire will only really be "contained" or fully out until the rains of autumn, and when Mother Nature is ready. Upcoming wildfires may be even more willful.

Unfortunately, for much of this—in the climatic conditions present, as well as that at risk—we have only ourselves to blame.

Last edited by Idunn; 06-21-2012 at 05:28 PM..
Old 06-21-2012, 06:48 PM
8,317 posts, read 25,196,081 times
Reputation: 9067
Regarding Idunn's post above, I'm reminded of a comment a Forest Service firefighter made to me years ago about the 1988 Yellowstone fires, which he spent most all of that summer fighting. Basically, what he said was this: for the millions upon millions of dollars spent by the government to fight the 1988 Yellowstone fires, what the taxpayers got for that was the saving of the Old Faithful Lodge and some other buildings in the park. That was accomplished with a handful of firefighters, some trucks, and a little aerial support. The rest of the effort--and the taxpayer money to pay for it--was a total waste, an effort made necessary by political meddling, and the demands from an ignorant public and grandstanding media. In the end, the fires did exactly what nature intended, cleaning out the beetle-killed lodgepole forest, reseeding it, and allowing it to regenerate--which it continues to do quite well, thank you.

It is clear that "aesthetics" and economics lobby against any widespread effort to effect man-made thinning of the forests by logging or other methods of harvesting overcrowded trees. When that is the case, fire--either human-managed burns or nature-managed burns--are the only real other alternative. So, the question isn't whether or not we get fires, it's HOW we get them--on human terms or nature's terms. At this point, I'd say nature is winning, and that probably isn't an altogether bad thing. What should be made abundantly clear, though, is that the current fire-fighting efforts are NOT about protecting the forests, they ARE about trying--often unsuccessfully--to protect people and their ill-located property from a lot of stupid decisions that have been made over the years. That is a bitter pill to swallow, especially for those who lost homes that were located in unwise places, but no one has ever said that nature is always kind or fair.
Old 06-21-2012, 10:48 PM
Location: 80904 West siiiiiide!
2,867 posts, read 7,122,933 times
Reputation: 1546
Breaking news: Woodland Park Police say they have a suspect in custody, that's been setting fires all around Teller County.
Old 06-22-2012, 04:25 PM
Location: CO
2,541 posts, read 5,840,895 times
Reputation: 3301
What a fire - The High Park fire started June 9 - almost 2 weeks ago, and today there is yet another round of new evacuations (containment is now expected about July 15; it's already been called the most destructive wildfire in Colorado):

Larimer sheriff orders more evacuations in High Park Fire
LARIMER COUNTY — Offficials at the High Park Fire in Larimer County are evacuating residents from Hewlett Gulch Road, Deer Meadow Way and Gordon Creek Lane, the Larimer County Sheriff's Office reported about 2 p.m. Friday. North Rim Road, Hidden Canyon Drive, Willow Mountain Court, Elkhorn House Road and Deep Cut Road are also being evacuated.

Increased winds have spawned several spot fires Friday afternoon, according to the sheriff's office, prompting the new round of evacuations. The sheriff's office says 121 emergency notifications have been sent out. . .
Old 06-22-2012, 08:56 PM
20,383 posts, read 37,959,587 times
Reputation: 18196
CNN has a story today, with some amazing photo's.
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Old 06-22-2012, 11:42 PM
16,219 posts, read 20,267,314 times
Reputation: 46832
Another fire on the western slope, this one is near Mancos, which is about 20 miles east of Cortez. Close to 600 acres already burned and a dozen structures are threatened.
Old 06-23-2012, 07:23 AM
277 posts, read 588,005 times
Reputation: 443
Originally Posted by DOUBLE H View Post
Another fire on the western slope, this one is near Mancos, which is about 20 miles east of Cortez. Close to 600 acres already burned and a dozen structures are threatened.
The smoke plume looked pretty big from Durango yesterday evening. I couldn't see anything in that direction this morning, but you can smell the smoke in the air. Hopefully they can get a handle on it.
Old 06-23-2012, 07:39 AM
Location: Foot of the Rockies
85,126 posts, read 99,292,194 times
Reputation: 31590
Originally Posted by jazzlover View Post
Check posts #113, #117, #120 from this thread, dated in August and September of last year; Millions of dead trees in the Colorado Mountains

Particularly this sentence:

And, this is a quote from a post that I made in 2010. What I didn't know then was that the La Niña event I predicted for 2010-2011 would persist and strengthen into 2012.

And, how 'bout what I said back in 2009, in light of what is going on right this very minute?

#50 in this thread: Millions of dead trees in the Colorado Mountains

No one should be shocked or surprised about what is happening this summer. A whole lot of people, including me, have been predicting this for years. And, the response has been pretty much what I expected: US Forest Service resources being used largely to protect a lot of private structures located where they probably should have never been permitted to be built, a lot of firefighters (both Forest Service and local) put out in harm's way to protect that stuff, a huge bill for all of that plopped upon the taxpayers, and--at the end of day--pretty limited to non-existent effectiveness of any of it to stop huge fires from doing what they are going to do. I applaud the heroism of the firefighters tasked to try to stop these fires, but it is sad that they and the resources dedicated to them couldn't have been used to properly manage the forests to develop healthier forests and less fire-prone conditions within them.

If there is one good thing that might come from this (but, sadly, experience shows that it usually doesn't), it would be that people will recognize that Colorado forests are not the "fireproof" forests that many people were led to believe, and that placing man-made structures in the middle of them is, indeed, a pretty risky proposition--especially given the diseased and overgrown condition of the forests and the seemingly persistent drought conditions that are now plaguing them. Maybe, too, insurers, local planning officials, local fire agencies, etc. will recognize that blithely allowing structures to be built in tinderboxes is a financially and fiscally irresponsible idea for which they, as much as the property owner, wind up "holding the bag" for when a fire occurs.
You're quite the soothsayer!

I never heard that Colorado's forests were "fireproof", and I've lived here 30+ years.
Old 06-23-2012, 07:42 AM
Location: OKLAHOMA
1,778 posts, read 3,496,336 times
Reputation: 927
[quote=bovinedivine;24847378]This is a reasonable consideration, wanneroo. If you can afford to be flexible, it might be worth waiting until October or November. The fire situation isn't going anywhere fast, and nothing ruins a summer vacation like having to evacuate a campground or rec area in the middle of the night, or being forced to stay indoors because of poor air quality and smoke-filled skies.

I am going out in September. I've lived with big earthquakes (CA) and constant threat of tornadoes but Fire seems scarier to me. It is the one big consideration I've had about building on the Raton Pass or in Chama near the Pagosa fire.
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