I remember the first time someone told me Smokey the Bear was wrong.
At least that’s what they told me.
When I attended Philmont as a scout almost a decade ago, part of our trek was spent doing some trail work in an area of the ranch that had suffered from a devastating crown fire. We learned that the
Midwest Western forest ecosystem actually thrives on fire to reproduce but there is a specific kind of fire it needs. They called it a surface fire, in which a fire blazes through and only burns up stuff that is 6′ off the ground and no higher.
However, after decades of forest/fire mismanagement and the rise of liability relating to controlled burns, the
Midwest Western states today are now a giant “tinder box”. The average citizen can’t do anything (really) to fix the decades of built up undergrowth that plagues the forests out here.
That means when a fire happens naturally (they do), they become a crown fire and kill everything- thus leaving the ground barren.
The forests will grow back but not as fast as if they were allowed to reproduce correctly.
It’s incredibly sad what is happening in the Rocky Mountain states this year. People are losing their homes and being displaced due to uncontrollable fires. What is worse is our great firefighters are struggling with hostile weather conditions to bring them under control.
I’ve seen the devastation first hand, and my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by these fires as we drive through the remainder of Colorado today. My hope is these fires get put out quickly and people can begin to realize that we need to look again at how we handle forest fires today.
However, Denver did receive some much needed rain last night.
We will be driving through the rest of Colorado and most of Utah today. After my card corruption in the GoPro yesterday (due to a faulty Kingston card), I’m scrambling to shuffle my remaining good SD cards to make sure we can capture the rest of the drive properly.
(Colorado is one of my favorite states- it pains me to see it burn due to misguided past policies)
(Thanks to Randa for pointing out an error)