Colorado Wildfire History
Year in, year out, we know a few things to be fact. It gets hot on the Western Slope, and the ground gets dry. And that means wildfires.
The history of wildfires on the Western Slope as well as the state of Colorado is well known. Lives lost, large areas burned and lives ruined by them. Take a look.
South Canyon Fire - Glenwood Springs
The fire began as a result of a lightning strike on Storm King Mountain and burned 2115 acres and killed 14 firefighters. The Storm King Trail on Iron Mountain allows you to retrace the steps these brave firefighters took to combat the blaze. Check out the memorial as well.
Hayman Fire in Pike National Forest - Colorado Springs
The fire began on June 8, 2002, and was not fully out until July 18. 133 homes, 138,114 acres burned and five firefighters lost their lives in the blaze that it was determined was caused by arson. The largest fire in the state's history in terms of area burned.
High Park Fire - Ft. Collins
This fire, as are many of these fires, was started by a lightning strike. Over 87,000 acres were burned and consumed 248 homes, making it the most destructive fire at the time. It would be passed two weeks later.
West Fork Fire Complex - Wolf Creek Pass
This fire was actually three fires that combined into each other, burning over 109,000 acres. The West Fork Fire, the Papoose Fire, and the Windy Pass Fire. Thousands of firefighters fought to keep the fire away from residential areas.
Missionary Ridge Fire - Durango
Near Durango, this fire burned for 39 days and destroyed nearly 50 homes and cabins. Over 71,000 acres were burned as a result of this fire and one firefighter lost his life.
We can't do anything about lightning strikes, but we sure can with cigarette butts and building campfires.
Smoky the Bear said it best. "Only YOU can prevent forest fires"!