wildfire

InciWeb

A new and sweeping partnership is looking at preventing and preparing for worsening wildfires in the West. 

The Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Restoration Initiative is a collaboration of 30 partners including utility companies, wildlife nonprofits, hunting groups, the Forest Service, and water management agencies with a mission to “increase the resilience of forests and communities.”

Embers are raining down on communities across Australia.

Researchers from a number of states, including Idaho, Colorado and Nevada, have found that grazing does not help get rid of cheatgrass, a highly flammable weed. 

Wildland firefighters use fire retardant — the red stuff that air tankers drop — to suppress existing blazes. But Stanford researchers have developed a gel-like fluid they say makes fire retardant last longer and could prevent wildfires from igniting in the first place if applied to ignition-prone areas.

Roger Ottmar / U.S. Forest Service

In the next few weeks, the U.S. Forest Service plans to conduct a massive controlled burn on a remote mountain in Utah, part of the agency’s efforts to better understand the behavior of giant fires that are becoming more common in the West.

Firezat Inc.

A new study suggests huge fire blankets can help protect homes during wildfires.

Decker Fire Facebook Page

Last updated Sat., Oct 19, 7:45 a.m.

At last update, officials say the blaze has grown to 8,694 acres and remains 30 percent contained. Officials says current cost of fighting the fire has reached $16.4 million.

Earlier this week, authorities in Chaffee County have lifted additional evacuation notices for some residents living near the Decker Fire. As of 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, evacuations for CR 101, Bear Creek were shifted to a pre-evacuation status.

Officials say CR 101 will remain closed to traffic, with the exception of residents living on the road. CR 108 remains closed to all traffic, with the exception of residents of Boot Hill and Methodist Estates.

On Tuesday, the evacuation notice for Chaffee County residents of Silverheels Drive and directly west of there was reverted to pre-evacuation status. 

In Fremont County, residents of Swissvale and Wellsville were be allowed to return to their homes earlier this week, but remain on pre-evacuation notice.
 

Photo Courtesy of Kara Ryan

Updated 2:13 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019

The Decker Fire burning near Salida is nearing 6500 acres, but now has 14 percent of the perimeter contained. Nearly 900 personnel are actively working the fire.

Hugh Fairfield-Smith / Decker Fire crew member via Decker Fire Facebook page

Last Update: 7:45 p.m., Tuesday, 10/8/19

Effective Wednesday at 10 a.m., Chaffee County Sheriff John Spezze is lifting evacuation notices for the residents of the Methodist Estates and Boothill subdivisions, as well as other residents who access their homes via County Road 108 and the Chaffee County residents who access their homes via County Road 101, Bear Creek. Valid ID or rapid tag ID is required to gain re-entry. All residences remain on pre-evacuation notice.

In Fremont County, Pine Ridge remains on pre-evacuation notice, as well as portions of Howard.

Decker Fire Facebook page

Smoke from the Decker Fire burning in the Sangre de Christo Wilderness area moved into Colorado Springs Monday afternoon. The heavy smoke is also seen in Southern Douglas County.

Courtesy photo / https://www.360durango.com/Attractions/durangoandsilvertonrailroad.html

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — A federal lawsuit says nearly 50 fires in Colorado were ignited by a railroad company in the weeks leading up to a major wildfire.

Reservoirs can get messy after a big wildfire. The issue isn’t the fire itself, it’s what happens after. 

Courtesy of Dom Paulo

DURANGO, Colo. (AP) — Officials say fish populations in a Colorado river have been severely depleted due to suffocation caused by debris from a 2018 wildfire.

Abigail Beckman / 91.5 KRCC

Wildfire is a continual threat in the West, but researchers say an invasive species of grass that’s taking hold in states like Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada could make things worse.

Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control

Our region is leading the way on training helicopter pilots to fight fires at night.  There are costs and hazards involved but the move could also help firefighters get the most threatening blazes under control more quickly.

Wildfires are still burning across the Mountain West, but far fewer than in the last few years.


A recent study says the American West should be doing more prescribed burns to keep forests healthy and to help lessen the impacts of wildfires across our region. It also concluded that there needs to be a change in how we perceive the practice out here for that to happen.

Ali Budner / 91.5 KRCC

It’s no secret that wildfires are getting worse in the West. They’re threatening lives, homes and ecosystems. And they are also threatening our already-precarious watersheds. It’s all becoming a vicious cycle  — especially for the drier parts of our region. 

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing 11,000 miles of fuel breaks throughout our region to help combat the spread of wildfires.

BLM

Several utility companies in the West have announced they will institute power blackouts in areas with high fire risk when conditions are particularly bad. 

The Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. started the 416 Fire with one of its coal-fired engines, the U.S. Forest Service announced Tuesday. U.S. Attorney Jason Dunn filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Forest Service in the District of Colorado.

Andrea Chalfin / 91.5 KRCC

On June 8, The Crystal Park, Upper Skyway, and Crystal Hills neighborhoods will participate in a wildfire evacuation drill. The City of Colorado Springs, City of Manitou Springs and El Paso County will host the exercise through the Pikes Peak Regional Office of Emergency Management.

June 1 will mark the one-year anniversary of the 416 Fire starting north of Durango in the San Juan National Forest. The fire burned 54,000 acres — an area larger than Mesa Verde National Park — and took two months to be contained.

But even with that one-year anniversary coming up, one question lingers: What started the 416 Fire? 

Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control

Colorado is testing out self-driving ATVs to assist wildland firefighters at work. The state is working with Honda to test out the company’s emerging technology.    

UPDATE: 6:30 p.m.: All evacuations have been lifted and mop up efforts are underway. Cause of the fire is under investigation.

A few months ago, John Parker retired and moved into a salmon-colored log house on a mountain called Tungsten in unincorporated Boulder County.

"Just to get a little piece of heaven, get away from the madding crowd," he says.

Inside, a wood-fired stove fills the house with heat and a low hum. Outside, the snow feels like thick, gritty icing. The wind barrels up a slope, gathering snow into a glittery stream. When the glitter stream meets the house, it curves around and hugs it, piling up around the back steps. It does not feel like the time to think about wildfires. But if that same wind was carrying embers instead of snow, those would follow the same path and instead of glittering, that pile by the back door would be glowing.

The historic government shutdown is beginning to stir anxiety in and around Paradise, Calif. The town of about 25,000 people was almost completely destroyed by a deadly wildfire last November and almost everyone and everything directly affected is relying heavily on federal aid.

So far FEMA and Small Business Administration loans do not appear to be affected. But local officials say the shutdown is causing delays in more under-the-radar infrastructure projects, which could have serious, longterm consequences.

Updated at 4:05 p.m. ET

The number of people who are unaccounted for in the wake of the Camp Fire in Northern California has grown to some 300 names, the Butte County Sheriff's Office says. As more people were reported missing, firefighters battle that and several other large blazes. And residents are still tallying devastating losses from the fires.

Updated at 5:15 a.m. ET on Friday

A fast-moving Northern California wildfire has forced tens of thousands of people to evacuate, with residents fleeing through flames and leaving their cars to take cover in nearby stores.

The Camp Fire started Thursday morning near Paradise, a town of around 27,000 people some 90 miles north of Sacramento. By Thursday evening, the town was a scene of widespread destruction, and hundreds of structures were reduced to rubble.

In early August three years ago, Barb Horn stood along the banks of the Animas River in the city of Durango, Colorado. Word had spread of a mine waste spill upstream near Silverton. She waited, alongside hundreds of others, for the waste to appear. But the plume took longer than expected and eventually arrived at night.

The next morning, she saw the change.

“It was absolutely surreal,” Horn says. “And I think that's why it went viral. It’s like somebody photoshopped the river orange.”

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