Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A 38,000 Acre Learning Laboratory in Colorado

Beetle killed trees lie on the burned ground of the Beaver Creek Fire in Walden, CO. 

We continue to see a paradigm shift in the firefighting strategy across the West. The Beaver Creek Fire is providing an opportunity to learn about how fires behave on beetle killed landscapes, how the strategy of point protection can be the right approach, and how the US Forest Service's Life First Initiative is being embraced by fire managers and saving lives.

Instead of chasing down and snuffing out hot spots, crews in Colorado and Wyoming are using their most valuable tool: patience. Fire managers are employing an indirect attack strategy on the 38,000+ acre fire in Walden, Colorado - protecting communities and structures in the path of the fire while letting the fire burn through the beetle killed forest.  While this is not a new strategy, it is giving fire managers an opportunity to study the fire behavior of the beetle killed forest and keeps firefighters safe from the threat of falling dead trees while they wait for the fire to emerge from the weakened forest to engage it.  

The public is learning from this fire event as well. By recognizing that changing firefighting tactics takes more time and by bracing themselves for more managed fires like these, the public is becoming more aware and supportive of the risk-based decisions that fire managers must make. 

Read more here about how the Beaver Creek Fire is being managed for point protection and firefighter safety.  

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