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Old 04-14-2018, 01:43 PM
 
12,842 posts, read 24,468,229 times
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I wonder how vulnerable the town of Ridgway is. Ouray is so close in to the mountains, I worry more for it.

Guess there'll be no July 4 fireworks this year. One year I was flying in and got bumped from the Montrose flight for smoke jumpers.
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Old 04-14-2018, 05:12 PM
 
16,163 posts, read 20,172,692 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colorado Rambler View Post
From the Colorado Springs Gazette:

ENGLEWOOD - Friday's news from the governor and state wildland fire experts came as no surprise: Colorado faces a potentially devastating wildfire season.

Possibly, officials said, the worst since two of the state's most destructive - the 2012 Waldo Canyon fire, which burned 347 homes in Colorado Springs and killed two residents; and the 2013 Black Forest fire, which destroyed 489 homes and killed two people.

"With 63 percent of normal snowpack in southeast Colorado and into the headwaters of the Arkansas River drainage, there's heightened fire awareness," Gov. John Hickenlooper said at an annual wildfire outlook briefing at Centennial Airport in Englewood...

Other parts of the state are in worse shape, or "extreme drought conditions," officials said, including the San Miguel, Dolores, Animas and San Juan basin, with 36 percent of normal snow-water equivalent, and the Upper Rio Grande Valley, at 38 percent of normal, as of Thursday.

The state's core fire season, which normally runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, could be extended and more extreme than usual, Hickenlooper said.


This means YOU, Colorado Springs and Pueblo! The news is even grimmer for the southwest portion of the state from Cortez/Durango to Telluride and Ouray. This past winter has been one of the driest on record in the San Juans and the La Platas, and we've had little relief from any spring rains with April (normally the best month for precip) now almost half over. Add in all the fuel readily available from the beetle-killed swaths of forest, and one of these summers my beloved San Juan Mountains are going to go up in flames. The question is only when, not if.

Some good news - The story in the Gazette goes on to describe proactive innovations and policies that have been implemented statewide - like according to Gov. Hickenlooper, Colorado is one of the only states to have Air Force firefighting forces at its call, to respond within the first hour of the initial start of a fire. Yes! Go, Air Force!

But we can all help to protect our beautiful state from the devastation of wildfire by paying heed to red flag warnings and clearing dead brush and slash from around our properties and near our homes. Doing these things would have done much to reduce or even prevent the awful 2013 Black Forest fire.

Have a great summer, everyone and BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^REQUIRED READING^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Regarding the years 2012 and 2013; can it get any worse? Easy answer--sure can! Check out some online stories when you do a search on "2002 Colorado Wildfires"

Let's go right to the top of the batting order. The Hayman Fire- near Deckers, it went to 138,114 acres-easily the biggest fire in Colorado history.

And Colorado Rambler is very familiar with this place close to Durango--"Missionary Ridge". That fire totaled 72,000 acres.

Governor Owens caught a lot of flak from gasbag politicians on both sides of the aisle when he said in the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News--"All of Colorado is on fire." He wasn't saying anything that wasn't true, they were all over the Colorado mountains.

Other fires from the summer of 2002---

Spring Creek Fire (near Newcastle)-11,000 acres
Bear Fire (near Dinosaur National Monument)-4800 acres
Coal Seam Fire (near Glenwood Springs)-12,200 acres
Big Fish Fire (near Steamboat Springs)-17,056 acres
Mt. Zirkel Fire (north of Steamboat Springs)-33,000 acres
Fires in the 250-1000 acre range? Lots.

And the ones that basically shut down tourism for a short time?

June 20,2002--sparks from the wheels off the Durango Silverton Narrow Guage train caused a 556 acre fire near Needleton. The train suspended runs for a short time.

And five weeks later on July29th the Long Mesa Fire made its rounds in Mesa Verde National Park. That specific fire and two others in 2000 and 2001 makes the total count somewhere around 25,000 acres in the Park itself. To come so close to the ruins, specifically Spruce House, well, it was a sad, sad sight.

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Old 04-14-2018, 06:03 PM
 
160 posts, read 73,264 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brightdoglover View Post
I wonder how vulnerable the town of Ridgway is. Ouray is so close in to the mountains, I worry more for it.

Guess there'll be no July 4 fireworks this year. One year I was flying in and got bumped from the Montrose flight for smoke jumpers.
They should ban all fireworks anyway, esp. since the potential damage far outweighs the entertainment benefit. In addition to catastrophic environmental damage, there 's also the human cost.

On fourth of July weekend 2015, NY Giant all Pro defensive lineman Jason Paul-Pierre suffered a life-changing injury, when fireworks exploded in his hand, causing severe injury. It was so bad that doctors' wanted to amputate the whole hand, but he ended up losing a whole finger and part of another. He clearly has not been the same player since the injury. To his credit, he did a service announcement promoting fireworks safety in 2016.

When I was in high school, the kid down the street from me got nasty blisters on his fingers when a black cat firecracker exploded before he could throw it. Fire crackers serve no useful purpose . . . and neither does the Texas A&M bonfire, in which twelve students were tragically killed in 1999. (The bonfire was revived by the students fifteen years after the disaster: Texas A&M Bonfire still burns fifteen years after collapse kills 12 students)
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Old 04-14-2018, 11:41 PM
 
Location: CO/UT/AZ/NM Catch me if you can!
4,253 posts, read 3,949,899 times
Reputation: 9432
Quote:
Originally Posted by DOUBLE H View Post
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^REQUIRED READING^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Regarding the years 2012 and 2013; can it get any worse? Easy answer--sure can! Check out some online stories when you do a search on "2002 Colorado Wildfires"

Let's go right to the top of the batting order. The Hayman Fire- near Deckers, it went to 138,114 acres-easily the biggest fire in Colorado history.

And Colorado Rambler is very familiar with this place close to Durango--"Missionary Ridge". That fire totaled 72,000 acres.

Governor Owens caught a lot of flak from gasbag politicians on both sides of the aisle when he said in the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News--"All of Colorado is on fire." He wasn't saying anything that wasn't true, they were all over the Colorado mountains.

Other fires from the summer of 2002---

Spring Creek Fire (near Newcastle)-11,000 acres
Bear Fire (near Dinosaur National Monument)-4800 acres
Coal Seam Fire (near Glenwood Springs)-12,200 acres
Big Fish Fire (near Steamboat Springs)-17,056 acres
Mt. Zirkel Fire (north of Steamboat Springs)-33,000 acres
Fires in the 250-1000 acre range? Lots.

And the ones that basically shut down tourism for a short time?

June 20,2002--sparks from the wheels off the Durango Silverton Narrow Guage train caused a 556 acre fire near Needleton. The train suspended runs for a short time.

And five weeks later on July29th the Long Mesa Fire made its rounds in Mesa Verde National Park. That specific fire and two others in 2000 and 2001 makes the total count somewhere around 25,000 acres in the Park itself. To come so close to the ruins, specifically Spruce House, well, it was a sad, sad sight.
[LEFT]
[/LEFT]
Yep, thanks to my rambling ways I had the dubious pleasure of being around for the Hayman Fire as well as Missionary Ridge and the Long Mesa Fire. It felt like everywhere I went in Colorado was going up in flames. Walking or driving through these places in the aftermath of all those fires was depressing beyond belief. I am well used to fires since I was married for 20 years to a man who fought fire for the US Forest Service here in Colorado as well as out in California. Between Colorado and California, fire season was just no damn fun, especially if you were one of those "who also serve though you merely stand and wait."

The summer of 1994 was also a terrible fire year for Colorado. That was the year of the infamous South Canyon Fire outside of Glenwood Springs. Fourteen firefighters from both the BLM and the Forest Service lost their lives attempting to prevent the flames from reaching homes on private property in the notorious urban/wildland corridor on the outskirts of Glenwood. There but for the grace of God...

The story of this terrible Colorado forest fire is told by John N. Maclean in his fascinating book, "Fire on the Mountain." I highly recommend it, especially to those who live close by or next to public lands or forests. Take that book to heart and do the things suggested to help fire proof your property. An ounce of prevention is worth more than rubies - and certainly your life or the lives of the brave young men and women who fight fire out here in the American West.
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:03 AM
 
230 posts, read 123,240 times
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Do the fires happen predominantly in areas with trees and forest? Or do they ever hit communities without many trees?
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Old 04-15-2018, 12:41 AM
 
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
575 posts, read 668,946 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Postal77 View Post
Do the fires happen predominantly in areas with trees and forest? Or do they ever hit communities without many trees?
Not just in areas of trees, we also get grass fires which are extremely dangerous and volatile. With high winds they can be faster and more difficult to stop than the forest fires. Two nights ago they had to evacuate the entire town of Boone on the prairie east of Pueblo due to a grass fire. They were able to contain the fire without losing any homes but a resident was severely injured and was transported to a Denver burn unit. They tried to airlift him but the Flight for Life helicopter was unable to fly in the high winds so they had to transport him by ambulance.

The fire that started on Fort Carson a few weeks ago was also in a treeless area, fortunately no human life was lost but two or three homes were destroyed in a community south of the base.
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Old 04-15-2018, 09:03 AM
 
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So far this year in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, we've already had dozens of fires and they've all been grass/brush fires.
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:11 AM
 
Location: Denver
2,974 posts, read 2,394,807 times
Reputation: 1814
Quote:
Originally Posted by otowi View Post
So far this year in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, we've already had dozens of fires and they've all been grass/brush fires.
Ft. Carson starts one like every day with their training drills. They have a good fire department but still...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postal77 View Post
Do the fires happen predominantly in areas with trees and forest? Or do they ever hit communities without many trees?
If you look at the Black Forest Fire and the Waldo Canyon Fire, they both stopped fast as soon as the forest disappeared. As soon as the forest went away, they could contain the fire within 100 ft on the north side of Black Forest.

As soon as Waldo Canyon hit the city, it stopped fast (even though like 350 homes got destroyed). A fire won't ever take out thousands and thousands of homes inside of suburbia.

Fires are mostly a home in the woods problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SwampyNeedsMountains View Post
That's rough. Tough spot to be in. Enjoyed reading the article and how the state is attempting to combat wildfires - I was seriously impressed!!! Trying to be glass half full guy here
I think they are getting better at fighting them when they are near population. I believe we have 2 planes full of fire retardant ready to fly as soon as they are requested.

It'll probably be a bad season, but lets hope the fires are away from where the people are and that they maybe clean up some of the beetle kill areas a bit without harming too much.

Just because we had a dry winter doesn't mean we'll have a wet spring / summer. It wouldn't deviate too much from the past to have a 8-10 in. precipitation year.
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Old 04-15-2018, 10:50 AM
 
5,003 posts, read 6,678,903 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil P View Post
A fire won't ever take out thousands and thousands of homes inside of suburbia.
I wouldn't say never. Look at California fires that took out thousands of homes. I think the record in CA is around 5,700 homes. It took sustained winds to do that, but yeah, we all know wind can be an issue here too.
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Old 04-15-2018, 11:51 AM
 
16,163 posts, read 20,172,692 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otowi View Post
So far this year in Colorado Springs and Pueblo, we've already had dozens of fires and they've all been grass/brush fires.
Otowi is right. And it goes east of Colorado as well as depressing as it is to say this, southwest Kansas and a lot of Oklahoma has had lots of grass fires in the last several weeks. Various tv stations in Tulsa and OK City have different stories and youtubes of big grass fires from Enid in the north central portion to Claremore in the northeast to south of Norman and a portion of I-35 closed for a time. Also some small towns in the Oklahoma panhandle like Ft. Supply and Laverne in Harper County have been on the ready to evacuate people to Woodward.

Some nasty wildfires have been reported in southwest Kansas in the Ashland area, about a half hour south of Dodge City.
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