Honor the Fallen

AUGUST 5 IS THE ANNIVERSARY of the Mann Gulch Fire in 1949 near Helena, Montana. On that fateful day, temperatures were in the high 90s. From the fuselage side-door of a Douglas DC-3/C-47 aircraft, 15 smokejumpers fell from the sky and landed in the wilds of the Gates of the Mountains Wilderness. Their day was …

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Little Pond Big Issues

A FEW YEARS BACK we visited relatives on their small farm in Vermont. I had never been that far northeast. It was lush and green with healthy woodlands bordering the roads. One night we gathered around a large fire. As folks began heading to bed, I looked back at the fire and asked our cousin, …

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National Forests Under Fire?

A NUMBER OF “wildfire risk reduction” projects are proposed or already underway across tens of millions of acres of national forests in the western U.S., including Pike and San Isabel and 3.5 million acres of the Front Range in Colorado.1 The 2021 Infrastructure bill allocated over $3 billion — with Colorado’s U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, …

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A former Hot Shot looks at the West’s Wildfires

Essay by Lincoln Bramwell

Wildfire – December 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

THE RECENT WILDFIRES that burned 600 square miles, razed some 3,000 homes, killed 14 people and forced the evacuations of over a half-million Southern Californians shared one characteristic: All the homes burned were so close to public land that fire moved easily from hillsides covered with chaparral into subdivisions packed with natural vegetation.

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Vail looking at ban on new wooden shingles

Brief by Allen Best

Wildfire – January 2007 – Colorado Central Magazine

The horrors of the 1994 Storm King Fire, in which 14 firefighters died near Glenwood Springs, illustrated not only the dangers to firefighters, but the true cost of insulating mountain homes to the threat of fire dangers. Then, in 2002, a second fire raced across land adjacent to Glenwood Springs, this time gutting houses but taking no lives.

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Siberian smoke produces local haze

Brief by Central Staff

Wildfire – July 2003 – Colorado Central Magazine

During the first week of June, the sky was hazy over Central Colorado, which inspired a familiar question: Where’s the fire?

When the sky was hazy last summer, the answers were nearby: Hayman, Missionary Ridge, Iron Mountain, Coal Seam, etc.

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Insurance company tells rural landowners to clean up

Brief by Central Staff

Wildfire – July 2003 – Colorado Central Magazine

If you don’t clear the brush and trees around your mountain home, you could lose your fire insurance — if you’re currently insured with State Farm, anyway.

In May, the insurance company announced that it planned to conduct inspections on about 21,000 Colorado houses that it insures in areas that are prone to wildfire.

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Utes and Wildfire

Letter from Virginia Simmons

Wildfire – August 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Editors:

Your July issue included a timely article by Allen Best, with a mix of facts and opinions about the history of wildfire in Colorado. Whereas some of the opinions seemed well supported, I wish to point out one which set off some sparks in my head.

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Prescription for a fire

Sidebar by Chas S. Clifton

Wildfire – July 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

When a planned 600-acre prescribed burn at Bandelier National Monument exploded into a huge wildfire in May 2000 that burned homes and other buildings in Los Alamos, N.M., many people probably wondered how a fire is “prescribed.”

Typically, fires are started to “reduce fuel load” — in other words, to clear overgrown trees and brush before they burn on their own — or to improve wildlife habitat.

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Protecting your home against forest fires

Sidebar by Chas S. Clifton

Wildfire – July 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

Many Colorado Central readers live in what is called the “urban interface” — in other words, right up against the trees. Many of the homes that burned in the canyons of Los Angeles, in the Oakland Hills fire a decade ago, in the Black Tiger fire outside Boulder more recently, and in Los Alamos this spring, were similarly situated. Whether the fire nearing your home started from lightning, a campfire, or a forester’s drip torch, the end result might be the same — a sooty foundation and a pile of ashes.

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Orange Flags of Flame: Prescribed burns in the Wet Mountains

Article and photos by Chas S. Clifton

Wildfire – July 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

DESERTED MUCH OF THE TIME, the old Wetmore school’s parking lot was filled one night in October 1999. The big basement room — the lunchroom in former days before consolidation with the Florence school district — was packed with eastern Custer County residents, and volunteers were carrying in more folding chairs from the storerooms.

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