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Three giant forest fires raged in Colorado 15 years ago this week. What did we learn from them?

Fifteen years ago this past Sunday, I went sightseeing, as did Colorado’s governor. We both returned home deeply impressed, maybe even spooked.

From Denver, I had driven to Camp Hale, between Vail and Leadville, then hiked up Resolution Mountain. It stands 11,905 feet, modest by Colorado standards but high enough to get a commanding view of the landscape south and west. My companion, Cathy, remembers being unsettled by the type of clouds we could see from the summit....

 

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Energy developer proposes powering El Paso County jail with forest wastes

A renewable energy developer wants to build a small biomass plant to power the El Paso County jail as part of its grand plan to turn wood and brush cleared during wildfire mitigation into marketable products.

The Hong Kong-based VannZa group has proposed locating the plant on county property near the jail, supplying electricity to the facility at market rates, said John Zapel, the company's president and CEO. It would be powered by about 45 to 50 tons per day of...READ MORE

Putting fire back into the forest, starting in Aspen

The High Country Forest Collaborative (a re-envisioned version of the successful Colorado Bark Beetle Collaborative) met in Carbondale at the Fire Protection District on April 28th. The wider mission of the group is "community forest resilience." One key topic for forest health is reversing the suppression focused approach to wildfire which has altered the natural burn intervals of forest ecosystems, and made the forest less healthy. The upshot of decades of active fire suppression has been hotter, more dangerous fires, and increased risk to mountain communities. Read

Lower Snake Urban Interface

Learn more about the Lower Snake Urban Interface Proposed Project

On January 18, 2016 Shelby Limberis of the Forest Service gave THIS PRESENTATION to the Forest Health Task Force. Read Parts 2 and Parts 3. If you'd like to learn more about this project, you can go here.

Meet Your Forest: Volunteer to be a forest monitor (column)

This May we begin our sixth Forest Monitoring season. We already have over 200 monitoring locations throughout Summit County where volunteer citizen scientists track the health of our forest lands. We have a team of dedicated volunteers, but need more people of all ages and physical abilities to join us.

You will be measuring regeneration of trees, forest diversity and other forest resiliency indicators. You will be identifying outbreaks of noxious weeds and invasive species so that the U.S. Forest Service can take action to eradicate. You will have opportunities to....READ MORE

 

Rare Colorado Trout Rescued During Wildfire

A rescue mission performed during a raging wildfire last year may have saved a rare Colorado trout.

The first batch of semen and eggs have been harvested from 158 unique cutthroat trout that now thrive the Roaring Judy Hatchery in Gunnison.

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Colorado wildfire forecast for 2017 suggests another average year at worst

Colorado officials predicted an average or better wildfire season in 2017, but they cautioned against complacency despite no heightened warnings this year.

“You can never predict the weather. But I do think...

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Use of Simulation and Emerging Technologies in Firefighter Training

The use of simulations to enhance skills training is common in fields such as aviation, military, law enforcement, and medical services, where training in real environments can be dangerous and expensive. The use of simulation and emerging technologies has been less common in firefighter training, but interest is growing. The Colorado Governor’s Office of Information Technology and FirstNet explored some emerging technologies with the potential for improving...

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Environmental briefs: Silverthorne opens new motorized trails

After receiving a grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Off-Highway Vehicle program last summer, the Dillon Ranger District announced earlier this week the opening of new trails in Silverthorne near Tenderfoot Mountain. Specifically, the three new trails are in the Frey Gulch and Tenderfoot areas, and are also the result of help from both the Friends of the Dillon Ranger District (FDRD) and Summit County Off Road Riders (SCORR). The trails, Moab-Knobby, Powerline Loop and Seven of Nine, parallel the Frey Gulch Road and create several loop opportunities.....READ MORE

 

Summit County Forest Watchers Ramp Up Monitoring Efforts

As winter’s grip on the mountains loosens and the snow on the ground finally melts, the region’s volunteer protectors of national forest lands move into action. The Summit County Forest Health Task Force started as a nonprofit about a decade ago to help the U.S. Forest Service offset the destruction of the seasonal pine beetle. It has since spread to larger aims. Today, the organization works in establishing cooperative efforts among area stakeholders to educate about forest health and restoration, as well as assist the Forest Service, which has increasingly seen its budget stripped away each year....READ MORE