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Old 06-17-2013, 11:22 AM
 
Location: CO
2,591 posts, read 5,984,677 times
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Another fire:
Dinosaur National Monument fire at 370 acres, will be allowed to burn
Quote:
A fire that began as two fires caused by lightning strikes on Wild Mountain in Dinosaur National Monument park will be allowed to burn "for the natural benefits fire provides," authorities said Sunday.

The Wild/Hacking fire, which merged Friday, was estimated at 370 acres Sunday, an increase of about 8 acres since Saturday, though the exact size of the fire is still imprecise awaiting better analysis, authorities said.

The fires pose no threat to structures, and the monument remains open, although visitors are asked to avoid the Wild Mountain area. . .

 
Old 06-17-2013, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Aurora, CO
6,518 posts, read 10,182,174 times
Reputation: 9739
Quote:
Originally Posted by suzco View Post
That fire could torch 75% of Moffat County and only do $20 in damage. The fact that they're allowing the fire to run its course is a very good thing.
 
Old 06-17-2013, 05:23 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,697 posts, read 4,323,951 times
Reputation: 10277
Default Fires erupt in SW Colorado

From the Durango Herald:

Quote:
Temperatures were expected to be 10 degrees hotter today, with wind gusts reaching 40 to 50 mph, creating adverse conditions for firefighters battling two wildfires northeast of Pagosa Springs.

The Windy Pass Fire, 129 acres in size, was burning in a deep bowl filled with large standing dead spruce trees about three miles south of Wolf Creek Ski Area.

Fire officials planned to set up structure protection today at the ski area in the event that the fire jumps out of the bowl and makes a run toward the ski area, said Pam Wilson, spokeswoman with the Durango Interagency Fire Dispatch Center.

Additional firefighters were being assigned to the blaze today, she said, but because it is burning in a sea of dead trees, it was unsafe to put firefighters too close to the fire.

“Today is going to be a lot of contingency planning – strategy planning on the Windy Pass Fire – because they are expecting the temperatures to be about 10 degrees warmer today, and that may be just enough temperature to let that fire come up out of that bowl,” Wilson said.

Fire officials closed Lobo Overlook, a scenic overlook atop Wolf Creek Pass, and have closed a 25-mile section of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, from Elwood Pass to Piedra Pass.

“It’s just one of those fires that has a lot of potential to grow fast ... and we want to make sure no people are in harm’s way,” Wilson said.

Firefighters also were battling the West Fork Fire, which grew about 800 acres Sunday, to just over 2,500 acres. The fire was burning at high elevation about 14 miles northeast of Pagosa Springs. It made a run Sunday to the northeast, and is about 2 miles west of Beaver Meadows, a large grassy area within the Weminuche Wilderness.

The fire will eventually reach areas that are above timberline, but firefighters hoped to keep it west of the Continental Divide Trail and away from the Rio Grande National Forest. They were focusing efforts on the south side to protect private property and U.S. Highway 160, Wilson said.
A "sea of dead trees" and "a lot of potential to grow fast." I don't like the sound of that at all. And the Weminuche Wilderness, as well? Please, not the Weminuche - not ANY of them! Damned seas of dead trees, damned climate change, damned wild fires.

That does it. I'm off for the Uncomphagre Plateau. Wish me luck with the mountain lion thing.

Last edited by Colorado Rambler; 06-17-2013 at 05:32 PM..
 
Old 06-18-2013, 04:14 PM
 
811 posts, read 1,222,987 times
Reputation: 2111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Rambler View Post
That does it. I'm off for the Uncomphagre Plateau. Wish me luck with the mountain lion thing.
Good luck with the mountain lion thing.

Fires are bad when they destroy structures, obviously, but ultimately (and please excuse my simple-minded understanding of this) aren't fires one of the fundamental ways nature has evolved to keep itself in balance? Forests don't regenerate without fire, pine cones don't pop out their little seeds without fire triggering them, right? Lots and lots of relatively frequent smaller fires keep everything copacetic out there and minimize the risk of giant once-a-century monstrosities. Maybe I've got it all wrong, but I always thought fire was a necessary part of things, like water, and gravity. Water and gravity can also be hugely destructive, like fire, if badly managed or not respected, yes?
 
Old 06-18-2013, 04:58 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,697 posts, read 4,323,951 times
Reputation: 10277
Quote:
Originally Posted by smdensbcs View Post
Good luck with the mountain lion thing.
I'm still around having been delayed a day before I can escape from here. Anyhow, thank you.

Quote:
Fires are bad when they destroy structures, obviously, but ultimately (and please excuse my simple-minded understanding of this) aren't fires one of the fundamental ways nature has evolved to keep itself in balance? Forests don't regenerate without fire, pine cones don't pop out their little seeds without fire triggering them, right? Lots and lots of relatively frequent smaller fires keep everything copacetic out there and minimize the risk of giant once-a-century monstrosities. Maybe I've got it all wrong, but I always thought fire was a necessary part of things, like water, and gravity. Water and gravity can also be hugely destructive, like fire, if badly managed or not respected, yes?
Your statements re fire ecology are correct - or were before this period of global warming became so pronounced. The forests of the American West are being disrupted by a three pronged assault - rising temperatures and drought weaken the trees in our forests making them susceptible to invasions of insects. A plague of pine beetle or spruce budworm often finishes the trees off. They may remain standing and to the unschooled eye they may seem OK when they're anything but. Just like the trees in Black Forest, they are dry, dead pine sticks just waiting for the right spark.

I can't state this enough times. The trees are already dead. They just don't know it yet.


This is the condition of many of Colorado's forests. Colorado has been hit very hard by the drought- perhaps even more than any other western state. Twenty years from now the landscape here will be so changed that people who live here now won't recognize it.

As both a biologist and a life-long Colorado resident I can tell you that this change is already under way. I see it everywhere here on the Western Slope. Pretty soon even those with untrained eyes will see the difference - if for no other reason than so many forests have burned.

Colorado is going to have worsening fire seasons each year - it's tragic.

I want to visit the Uncomphagre while it still has its forests.
 
Old 06-19-2013, 10:00 AM
 
811 posts, read 1,222,987 times
Reputation: 2111
Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Rambler View Post
I can't state this enough times. The trees are already dead. They just don't know it yet.
OK, lets assume thats true. Setting the "threat to homes in the forest/urban intersection zone," won't fires function to clear out these "already dead" trees and set the stage for whatever nature has planned next. Maybe it will be the same species of pine trees, maybe it will be something else, but it will be SOMETHING, right? You're the biologist and I'm just a history major, but between the two of our academic disciplines we should be able to identify some trends, yes? Didn't the ecosystem show mind-boggling resilience after Mt. St. Helens flattened everything in a 8,000 square mile area, or whatever it was? These cycles have been going on for eons, yes? Unless someone wants to say the earth is only 5,300 years old (which I as a Christian don't want to say any more than I want to say the sun and the stars all rotate around the earth), change, radical change, is pretty much the only constant. Perhaps I'm naive, but as bad as humans have been the last 200+ years, I think the earth in general and the space we call Colorado have seen worse and pulled through pretty dang well. We think of fires as tragic when houses are burning down, and they are, but in a larger ecological history sense are you saying fires are now a bad thing? Should something ELSE happen to all these "already dead" trees? One generation yields to the next, each generation adapting a bit to the conditions as they actually exist, which are invariably different from the conditions of generations past. Again, I'm just a lowly non-scientist, but isn't that how it generally works? Fire is like the universal catalyst, like water is the universal solvent.
 
Old 06-19-2013, 02:19 PM
 
Location: CO
2,591 posts, read 5,984,677 times
Reputation: 3407
Another fire:

Chair Rock fire: Evacuations ordered in southern Jefferson County
Quote:
Air support arrived Wednesday afternoon to help fight a new wildfire burning in southern Jefferson County and evacuations have been ordered for residents.

Residents in the area of the Chair Rock fire, located south of Conifer and east of Bailey, are reporting heavy smoke in the area, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. Air support is already making water drops on the fire.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered shortly before 2 p.m. for a three-mile radius around the intersection of South Foxton Road and Platte River Road. Residents in the area are being told to leave immediately. . .
 
Old 06-19-2013, 04:35 PM
 
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All of the western slope has been on a red flag warning for pretty much all day. And it will be that way tomorrow with no chance for rain in sight for the next week. While nothing has popped here as of now the 30-40 mph winds are worrisome. Humidity is down as well; yesterday afternoon it was 6%. Very very dry.

Last edited by DOUBLE H; 06-19-2013 at 04:48 PM..
 
Old 06-19-2013, 05:03 PM
 
Location: CO
2,591 posts, read 5,984,677 times
Reputation: 3407
Quote:
Originally Posted by suzco View Post
They're calling it the Lime Gulch fire now:
Quote:
. . .wildfire burning in south Jefferson County forced residents to evacuate their homes on Wednesday afternoon.
The fire was originally reported as the Chair Rock fire, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, but it was later clarified that the fire was named the Lime Gulch fire.
Mandatory evacuations were first ordered shortly before 2 p.m. for a three-mile radius around the intersection of South Foxton Road and West Platte River Road. Residents in the area are being told to leave immediately and deputies are going door-to-door to evacuate residents. . . .
 
Old 06-19-2013, 07:45 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,697 posts, read 4,323,951 times
Reputation: 10277
Quote:
Originally Posted by smdensbcs View Post
OK, lets assume thats true. Setting the "threat to homes in the forest/urban intersection zone," won't fires function to clear out these "already dead" trees and set the stage for whatever nature has planned next. Maybe it will be the same species of pine trees, maybe it will be something else, but it will be SOMETHING, right?
It will be something, but it may not be something we like. One hypothesis is that flora from the Sonoran life zone will gradually move further north in latitude and higher in altitude. If we're lucky, we might get Jeffrey Pines (now usually found in southern New Mexico and Arizona). On the other hand, we may just end up with a bunch of invasive species like cheat grass, leafy spurge, scotch nettle, etc. It's quite possible that for a very long time, no trees at all will grow where the forests once were. I wouldn't rule out the possibility that new species will evolve - in fact, I'm sure they will - but that's going to take a while. It's very hard to predict what's going to happen since there are so many unknown variables.

Quote:
Didn't the ecosystem show mind-boggling resilience after Mt. St. Helens flattened everything in a 8,000 square mile area, or whatever it was?
Comparing ecosystems found in the PNW where Mt. St. Helens is located with the ecosystems of the arid Mountain West is like comparing apples and oranges. The comparative lack of water makes our ecosystems far more vulnerable. A clear cut area in the PNW forests will normally grow back in 10 - 20 years. Here in the Rockies, I can take you to places that were clear cut 100 years ago and STILL haven't recovered.

At any rate, this is getting off topic. People come to this thread to read about fires, not ecology. If you're really interested in the subject, you can start a new thread, and I'll reply to you there.
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