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link June 10

Colorado Wildfire Destroys 24 Homes

By NICK WADHAMS, Associated Press Writer

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Fire teams overpowered by a wildfire guarded dozens of homes in western Colorado rather than try to fight the ferocious flames that burned at least 7,300 acres, destroying 24 homes and sending residents fleeing.

The blaze was one of several burning in Colorado early Monday. Among the most fearsome was a 30,000-acre fire that blackened part of the Pike National Forest and left the Denver area enveloped in a hazy yellow smoke.

Gov. Bill Owens, who visited Glenwood Springs, also got a look at the Pike forest fire from a plane.

"It is an amazing spectacle. It looks like nuclear winter," Owens said. "All of Colorado is burning today. It is a very, very serious situation."

At Glenwood Springs, firefighters were especially cautious because of memories of the so-called Storm King fire on similarly dry, steep terrain that killed 14 firefighters in 1994. Though 40 structures including 24 homes were destroyed Sunday, there were no reported injuries in the Glenwood Springs fire.

"We learned from Storm King that dwellings can be rebuilt but you don't want to lose any life," Mayor Pro-tem Rick Davis said.

About 3,000 people were ordered to leave their homes while fire crews stood guard on the ridges above the town. The fire was apparently ignited by underground coal that had been burning for years, officials said.

The Pike blaze was sparked by a campfire Saturday. It exploded Sunday afternoon as 40 mph winds drove it through bone-dry timber and brush. Campfires are banned in national forests and most counties because of the drought.

The fire forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes in the mountains southwest of Denver and spewed smoke along the Front Range. A yellow haze covered the Denver area and ashes rained on communities.

State health officials advised people, especially the young, elderly and those with respiratory problems to stay inside Sunday.

In southwestern Colorado, meanwhile, a fire on a 10,000-foot-high mountain ridge north of Durango torched 6,500 acres. Two campgrounds were evacuated, and a Forest Service helicopter picked up several hikers and campers. One summer cabin was destroyed.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency ( news - web sites) late Sunday approved funds to help the state fight the blazes. The grant was the ninth FEMA approved for Colorado this year. The agency issued a total of eight grants to Colorado from 1994 to 2001.

In Smartville, Calif., residents forced from their homes by an 1,100-acre wildfire were allowed to return, but firefighters still had not gained an upper hand over the Northern California blaze.

Winds were pushing the fire southeast in the direction of Mooney Flat Road, about 60 miles northeast of Sacramento, when the evacuation was ordered for about 150 homes Sunday, said JoAnn Cartoscelli, spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry.

The fire, which started early Sunday after high winds knocked power lines into a tree, was 30 percent contained Sunday evening.

In Cimarron, N.M., hundreds of firefighters and a fleet of air tankers and water-dropping helicopters tried to slow down wildfires that charred thousands of acres of forested land in northeastern New Mexico.

The fire, which had burned an estimated 85,000 acres on and around the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch, was fueled by erratic winds Sunday, and officials expected another day of wind Monday.

Pushed by 50 mph winds, another fire in southwestern Utah tripled in size Sunday, growing to 5,000 acres. Firefighters were able to save about 30 vacation homes and evacuated 40 residents on Saturday from the area north of Zion National Park.

-- (, June 10, 2002


shit happens

-- (, June 10, 2002.

I was referring to my failure to close links, not to tragic fires

-- (, June 10, 2002.

Nevertheless appropriate. Those who live in the forest take the risk of fire. I'm not a fan of spending a ton of dollars saving their property from the threat of fire.

-- E.H.Porter (, June 10, 2002.

Dear Mr. Porter,

I believe the Fat Boys had a rap song describing your attitude.

-- Emenigma (e@e.e), June 10, 2002.

Right Porter. Next time I buy a home with any view that doesn't include asphalt I'm gonna check to make sure there aren't any 4 year droughts coming.

-- Carlos (, June 11, 2002.

No, next time, if they would string up the assholes who started these fires, excepting the coal seam fire, there wouldn't be a next time...

And I do appreciate spending tons of money putting out forest fires...

E.H., you live in the desert or on a beach???

Chasin' the idiot trying to start a campfire...

The Dog

-- The Dog (, June 11, 2002.


I'm no eco-expert but aren't there advantages to the environment of fires? Fires occur naturally due to drought and lightning as well as by human hand. Fires clear old-growth and allow new growth. In fact, some eco policies have allowed old-growth to reach dangerous levels so that when the fires inevitably come, they are worse than normal (Las Alamos 2-3 years ago).

-- (, June 11, 2002.

What about all the wildlife that perishes with every brush/forest fire. I'm just sick about it :o(

-- (cin@cin.cin), June 11, 2002.

Actually cin, after the Bullock fire here, which burned over 32,000 acres on my beloved Mt Lemmon, a National Parks conservationist was on the local PBS news talking about that very subject. She said that there are really very few critters taken in the fires. Most of the larger ones (like deer, bear, fox, possom) sense/smell the fire and take refuge elsewhere. So too do the rabbits, skunks, prarie dogs, etc. The birds take off too. So worry not's not what you think!

-- Aunt Bee (, June 11, 2002.


a National Parks conservationist was on the local PBS news talking about that very subject. She said that there are really very few critters taken in the fires.

Obviously a conservationist and not a fire fighter. In the 60's, I was involved in fighting the exact same kind of fires in the front range of Colorado. Not so newsworthy then because no homes had been built in the fire zone. When you get a combination crown and ground fire driven by high winds, nothing [let me repeat, nothing] escapes. Sometimes even the firefighters don't escape. I am told that temperatures reach near 1000 degrees. Have you ever seen a flaming animal. One thing is etched in my memory. I was standing in a clearing in a canyon and, suddenly, the trees on three sides all exploded in flames, must have been 200 ft into the air. They were gone in minutes. That is when I learned that I could rock climb. The way out was a cliff to the rear. No with these fast moving fires, cin is correct. At least that is my experience. But then, my experience is not from being a conservationist. ;<)

Best wishes,,,,,


-- Z1X4Y7 (, June 11, 2002.

I find myself agreeing with the Dog and Lars. Yes, they should find the stupid people who started a camp fire when there's been a ban on fires since May and string them up. Also, if the conservationists didn't want to save everything in the forests, there wouldn't be as much fuel for the fires. So there are two wrongs working here.

Also animals are smart and do leave the area when it smells of smoke but on occasion some are caught. I heard a report yesterday that a herd of cattle got trapped. Even firemen get trapped; it happened eight years ago in Glenwood when the winds reversed the fire's direction. So, it's a matter of percentages and I think that a higher number of animals survive than get killed in these fires.

It's been a very dry year here. First the winter only brought 25% of the normal snow fall, so the resevoirs are down, and then the spring didn't bring any rain at all. Hope el nino comes soon!

-- Maria (, June 13, 2002.

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