Saturday, March 31, 2012
The first major wildfire of the season is lapping at the western fringes of metropolitan Denver. Six hundred firefighters along with several airplanes, hundreds of trucks and more equipment than can be imagined began to attack the fire today during what has been promised to be a relatively windless day. There have been at least two deaths and one missing woman. If it sounds like a war then you would be right. As I understand the firefighting priorities, they first work to save lives of people and animals, then comes property and finally, when those things have been accomplished, the firefighters actually turn their attention to fighting the fire.
This fire started as a controlled burn, a risky maneuver at best in a somewhat populated area but often necessary to limit future fires and for the overall health of the forest. It seems to me that there must be a better way.
I watched a fire last year in the high reaches of the southern Sangre de Cristo Mountains southwest of Westcliffe. No one was fighting this fire. Firefighters must have been held back because of the unpopulated area the fire was in. I think about these things and what we need to do to prevent these massive efforts and the extreme risk to residents and firefighters.
posted by Custom Blogs @ 5:28 PM