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Old 06-22-2013, 11:28 AM
 
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In brief update of the West Fork Complex Fire near South Fork, it has of this morning burned some 42,000 acres, or 55 square miles. That is up from 29,000 acres Friday.

The town of South Fork remains in danger. Shifting winds yesterday helped divert this series of wildfires that had been rapidly moving northeast towards it. Time will tell, conditions in winds and high temperatures and no precipitation remain unfavorable for controlling this wildfire.

As of Friday, FEMA agreed to assume at least a portion of the cost of fighting this wildfire. More resources are being allocated to it.

Currently, more than a dozen wildfires are burning in Colorado.

 
Old 06-22-2013, 01:04 PM
 
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Default Economic Warfare by Fire

Food for thought.... Comments?


Economic Warfare Super Panel - William Scott - YouTube
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Old 06-22-2013, 01:37 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,743 posts, read 4,373,175 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike from back east View Post
It makes sense in a way - especially when it comes to the two very destructive fires in Colorado Springs. I'm sure many a terrorist dreams of doing damage there, given its high concentration of defense related industry and the major military bases in the Springs. Terrorists are able to cause a lot of destruction using very simple methods from pressure cookers to a single lit cigarette tied to a bunch of barn burner matches with a rubber band.

Out here, though? Meh, not so much. Who cares if South Fork burns down other than the people who live there? But I'll keep my eyes peeled for anyone wearing robes and a turban skulking around Cortez.


NPR reports that Durango residents can see the smoke from the West Fork fire today. There's even a tang of smoke in the air all the way over here in Cortez - which has me puzzled, since the prevailing winds should carry smoke to the east of us FURTHER east, not to the west. I hope nothing else around here is burning.

Highway 160 remains closed. The Papoose fire just north of Creed has now burned 11,000 acres. Seems like the Western Slope is in for a seige - whatever the cause may be.




PS If they DO catch terrorists burning down our forests, those low life SOB's should themselves all be burned at the stake - it would be their just reward.
 
Old 06-22-2013, 05:20 PM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
606 posts, read 740,588 times
Reputation: 1009
Actually if you think about from an economic terrorism possibility, the South Fork fire has a big impact. Not just the costs of fighting the fire and the potential structure loss but more damaging is the loss of revenue in an area and a state which depends on tourism as an integral piece of its economic base. That goes for most of the American west.

Even if they manage to save the structures in town, South Fork and the scenic area surrounding it will be severely impacted after this. The lifeblood of the town is outdoor tourism, and who's going to plan trips there if all the forest is burned down?
 
Old 06-22-2013, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Corona the I.E.
10,077 posts, read 14,028,344 times
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Wow sorry for SF and Durango, glad my relative sold her house in Pagosa
 
Old 06-22-2013, 05:57 PM
 
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Wink She who will decide at last

"We are afraid if it gets across Highway 149, it has the potential to run right into Saguache (nearly 50 miles to the northeast)." [1]
— Major Lawrence Martin, Colorado State Patrol



Major Martin is citing standard fire fighting doctrine which is surely wrong.

These guys are always bulldozing fire lines through the forest as if it would do some good, at great financial and ecological expense. But what they overlook is that a wildfire will cross a paved road, even river, if it wants.

In example, drive up CO 14 and look at some of the results from the 2012 High Park Fire along the Cache la Poudre River. In places this wildfire not only easily crossed that state highway, but also the entire river, burning all on either side of it.

Not wide enough? How about the Royal Gorge? Yes, the wildfire there began on the south rim and then managed to leap across that very wide and deep gorge, with the Arkansas River at the bottom, to burn a good deal of acreage on the north side.

Or let me quote Jazzlover from this very thread (Post #180):

'I talked to a fellow today who spent years as a wildland firefighter. He called the current conditions the most extreme that he has ever seen. He saw the fire on Wolf Creek from close enough to watch it with binoculars last evening. He said that the heat from the fire was so intense that that the hot air from the fire was enough to ignite trees hundreds of feet from any flames. He said that, "There is no such thing as 'defensible space' under fire conditions like that." [italic bold mine]
No fire line is going to work under such circumstances, nor any defensible perimeters. The winds are so erratic and this wildfire potentially fast that they cannot even safely put men in front of this wildfire. Reports had the temperatures and this wildfire so hot that the slurry drops of retardant and water evaporated before hitting the fire and ground. Something like this will easily cross natural barriers, such as rivers, not to mention anything mankind might come up with.

The truth they probably would not like to concede is that there is relatively little fire fighters can do to stop this wildfire. Mankind set all in motion by causing the trees to die. But Mother Nature will have the last say, and this wildfire out at last when she decides.

1) 'West Fork fire complex at nearly 60,000 acres, entire town evacuated,' The Denver Post
West Fork fire complex at nearly 60,000 acres, entire town evacuated - The Denver Post



ps. I was in RMNP today. And in walking about happened upon a number of cigarette butts along the side of the roads (or in the vegetation, as case may be). One will find this, as well as other trash, out along the hiking trails as well.

This is in part the mentality one is dealing with.
 
Old 06-22-2013, 09:11 PM
 
10,101 posts, read 6,324,391 times
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The West Fork Fire was started by lightning on June 5. Yesterday there was a steady stream of people heading east on 160. Today the smoke drifting north of 160 is nasty, really ugly. I talked to a friend in Taos and they are getting some of the fleeing tourists. The way some of these fires are fought makes no sense to me. I have watched the East Peak fire since day one, the north side is lost. It's my understanding that they are trying to save individual structures only at this time (we are on day 4 or 5). Am I wrong for thinking to heck with individual houses/barns/buildings (unless it's something historical) and just stop the fire from spreading (I do understand the argument for letting some natural fires just burn, but they always end up fighting them anyway). Imho, Colorado should have it's own fire fighting planes, waiting around on aircraft is costly. Early on, the East Peak fire could have been stopped dead in it's tracks (it "was" that small).

Last edited by elan; 06-22-2013 at 09:24 PM..
 
Old 06-22-2013, 09:48 PM
 
1,006 posts, read 1,869,480 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Idunn View Post
"
These guys are always bulldozing fire lines through the forest as if it would do some good, at great financial and ecological expense. But what they overlook is that a wildfire will cross a paved road, even river, if it wants.
1) Firefighters dont make the decision to bulldoze lines quickly. They are aware of the scarring and long term effects. When and if they do it it is usually either an emergency action to save homes immedeately threatened, or part of a larger control strategy. This includes considering the wind conditions and if the fire has the potential to jump the line. When the decision is made, only specially trained operators are used and they have been taught to try and minimize long term damage where possible.

2) It is standard firefighting mantra that humans never put out wildland fires, mother nature does. Time after time we see large conflagurations tamed only with the help of a change in weather. No person, no equipment and no technique will stop a wind driven fire that is running and "blowing-up".
 
Old 06-22-2013, 09:55 PM
 
Location: Colorado
18,835 posts, read 4,945,539 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pekemom View Post
About 10 pm, Friday, smelling the smoke here in Pueblo West. The skies have been smoky too the last couple of days, don't know from which fire...
Saturday and evening...much more smoke in the air, smells worse than yesterday..
 
Old 06-23-2013, 12:10 AM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,743 posts, read 4,373,175 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado xxxxx View Post
Wow sorry for SF and Durango, glad my relative sold her house in Pagosa
Durango is OK - at least in regard to the West Fork fire. They can see the smoke is all, and last I heard South Fork continues to hold on. Residents of Pagosa have been warned of possible health effects from all the smoke that is blowing their way.Highway 160 remains closed, but I didn't notice any perceptible drop-off in out-town (read "tourist") traffic today. Motels and restaurants appear to be doing a good business. So, I guess not too many tourists have become so disgruntled that they head for New Mexico instead of here.

There are two fires burning in Utah right near the Colorado line - one 35 miles east of Moab and the other 40 miles east of Monticello - that one must be like 3 inches west of the Colorado border, and it probably was the source of the smoke you could smell in Cortez this morning. Luckily, the two Utah fires don't seem to be doing much.

The NIFC has just put out its monthly fire forecast for the Western Slope:

Quote:
Western Slope of Colorado 06/21/2013

Subject: Western Colorado is in the third year of drought. The situation is predicted to persist or intensify through July. There is increased risk of large fire development and intense fire behavior. Dry, heavy fuels at higher elevations could pose a greater risk of active fire behavior.

Discussion: The wet spring pattern that occurred during April and May has provided a brief reprieve. Live and dead fuel moistures are quickly returning to a condition that will support large fire growth.

Forecasts do not offer the prospect of live or dead fuels conditions improving through July.
Difference from normal conditions: Fuels are described by fire managers as being deceptively green. The visual greenness being observed can lessen the sense of fire potential.
(Emphasis my own. This what is meant by the saying, "The forests are already dead. They just don't know it yet.")

Quote:
Live fuels, which had shown some improvement from late spring precipitation, are drying. On the Western Slope of Colorado, 100FM fuels are setting historically low values for the date, nearing the 3rd percentile, and moving into the range associated with historic large fires. Long-term drying has made large, higher elevation fuels, available as well.

Concerns to Firefighters and the Public:
Recent large fires on the Front Range and Western Slope have displayed intense and/or extreme fire behavior.
Long-range spotting, fire whorls, extreme fireline intensity and high winds have been observed and will continue to be control problems on both wildland and urban interface incidents.
Local preparedness planning and cooperation should be on-going.
Pretty grim assessment. I'm hoping the monsoon arrives early and will bring plenty of rain. Last year, it was a bust, bestowing only a few raindrops here and there before departing for good.
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