Drought - Fire - Flood Email Forum

Fire in the Boulder Area

MM ()
Wed, 25 Oct 2000 12:58:33 -0600


What are your concerns and insights relative to the inevitability of wildfires in
our region?

We're recently had several wildfires in the Boulder area including Left Hand
Canyon and the Walker Ranch Fire, with other front range fires to the north
(Bobcat Gulch north of Estes Park) and the Hi-Meadows fire not far from Buffalo
Creek southwest of Denver. Most of the front range foothills from Ft. Collins to
Colorado Springs are considered "red zone" by the US Forest Service, which as I
understand it means that there is the potential for a catastrophic fire due to
the potential loss of property and life.

The Black Tiger Fire in July of 1989 gave us a taste of what such a fire could
do, and as the case study from Firewise notes: From "Case Study of... the Black
Tiger Fire,"

"Rain had not fallen for at least 30 days during an extended period of high
temperatures. The dry conditions were long term: snow pack the previous winter
was only 25-75 percent of normal. On
Sunday, July 9, the temperature was again near 100 degrees. Humidity in the
previous week was reported to be in the single digits, although at the nearest
official weather station three miles east of the fire the reading at 1:00 pm on
July 9 was 24 percent."

I've just added some photographs from the Black Tiger fire and a few excerpts
from Dawn Kummli's book on the Black Tiger Fire at

There's also numerous other resources on local mitigation efforts through the
Fire page:

John Winchester has also located a USDA Forest Service technical report by
Swetnam and Baisan on Historical fire regime patterns in the Southwestern United
States since AD 1700 which is available as a 2000K PDF file at:

Today's Camera had an article on our forum, and I quoted part of the state's
definition on drought that may have sounded like I was being critical of the
state, which was not my intent. Apologies if I offended anyone; I was trying to
bring up the challenges of defining drought, which the state's drought plan
admits, but didn't express it very clearly.


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