Friday, July 13, 2018

The last of my interviews to be conducted will be happening next week. I will be doing in the early evening; I will also be doing a phone interview next Saturday. The second to last interview will either be on Monday or the following week. The last interview will also be sometime in the afternoon next week. I will be interviewing a Fire Chief I will ask him questions about the fires and will be seeing his perspective on moisture levels and how much moisture we need to stay avoid high red flag days. The following two people all work in the water department at Colorado Springs Utility. I will also be interviewing someone from the Emergency Management Coordination team at Colorado Springs Utility. Linda who I will be interviewing has personal story with the Waldo Canyon Fire she lives in the second evacuation area. The neighborhood was evacuated after mountain shadows, which was the first evacuation area. The Mountain Shadows neighborhood was the closest neighborhood to the fire when it came over the ridge. Linda’s lived in mountains shadows neighborhood and he lost his house in the fire. Once when I conduct the interviews and I am done with the interviews I will have a diverse overview, different perspectives. I will have different perspectives from the fireside of things, water and the Emergency management side. I just have to set up times with people, but hopefully they all are next in the beginning of the week. Once when I have the information from the interviews I will be able to finish my annotated bib.  I am going to start working on my paper this weekend and hopefully finish the paper by the end of next week if not the week after.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Today I read my last source from a person at the Colorado Springs Utility Company. Erin Duran provided me with a After Action report on the Waldo Canyon Fire. The report includes the dates of when the fire to when the fire was 100% contained. When the Waldo Canyon fire was burning it burned in two counties in Colorado Springs. When the fire started it originally started in Pike National Forest, which is three miles west of Colorado Springs. The fire started at noon, people saw smoke. Before recent fire Waldo Canyon was the most destructive fire that Colorado Springs had seen. The fire destroyed over 347 homes. When they did the action report the fire is listed as a type one incident. With the fire response was a little slow, but people learned to respond quicker in the future. The Waldo Canyon fire provided a lot of learning for future fires.  A lot of people did respond quickly, but not everyone responded quickly. When the fire started they originally thought that it would probably not jump the reservoir and come over the ridge, but with the wind blowing in a different direction the fire jumped the reservoir and came over the ridge. People were on evacuations quickly and there was a lot of traffic of people being evacuated.  All of the Colorado Springs emergency crews have plans, policies and procedures when a fire happens. They evacuate the people who are closest to the fire and make sure they get them out and then proceed with all of the other neighborhoods that are also in danger. Jane who I interviewed evacuated for the Waldo Canyon fire she put a sign on her house door saying that her and her family were evacuated, so the police or firefighters did not have to check their house for them to make sure that they got out. The community of Colorado Springs came together to help pit everyone who was affected by the Waldo Canyon fire.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

After the Waldo Canyon Fire the neighborhoods affected would have the concern of flooding, because when it would rain, but the water would flow into the town of Manitou, Woodland park and into other places where the fire burned. When it would rain in Colorado these places would be under flash floods warnings. This would continue for 2-3 years after the fire. The affects after the Black Forest fire would be people did not have a lot of privacy with their trees, because the of trees burned where people had to rebuild their houses. They are still getting used to not having as many trees as they did before the fire. There is regrowth happening in the Black Forest area, but it will take more years for all the trees to grow back or for most of the trees to come back. People in Black Forest had to cut down a lot of trees of their properties that had been burned by the fire. They also learned how zeroscaping and mitigating their property. After the Black Forest Fire the water in the river that runs from Black Forest to across the interstate over to Woodmen an area in Colorado close to Waldo Canyon fire. People noticed the water in the river was black. The water was black, because of the pollution from the Black Forest and what they were using to put the fire out. When the Waldo Canyon fire was burning the people over in Black Forest could breathe in the smoke, especially when the wind change directions and was blowing the smoke from the fire over to the Black Forest area. From both fires and being on opposite sides of town, both sides were feeling the affects from both fires. The flooding has gotten better over in the Waldo Canyon fire burn scar, because their has continually been regrowth over the six years. Manitou and Woodland Park are no longer affected by the flooding as they used to be, but occasionally their still will be flash flood warnings. Especially when it is pouring in Colorado.
When the Black Forest Fire started it was on the hottest day in June that was on record and it was the same when Waldo Canyon fire started. I found this in my research when I was looking for my sources. I went on the weather channel website and found a link that can take you back to the days and years the fires started.  When I found the day and the year on the weather channel website gave me the temperatures and the temperatures were in the high 90s when both fires started. This summer has been worst with Colorado being in drought. Before 2012 and 2013 were the worst summers for drought and fires and 2018 is following in the same pattern and when Colorado had the Hayman fire Colorado was in the same conditions. My next steps in my independent study are to upload pictures of Waldo Canyon of the fire and Black Forest fire to my computer and then put them on my blog. People can see a visual of both fires. In doing my research I have found that if we don’t receive an average amount of snowfall or above average snowfall. Then we are hoping for big snowstorms come March and April and for a lot of rain. The snowfall can really hurt Colorado especially if we don’t receive enough moisture. 
When Colorado does have big fires we are pulling a ton of resources from all over the state to help get containment of the fire. Once when a fire is burning for a while usually it will start to rain, but then lighting, becomes a factor, because the lighting could start another wildfire. Ever since the two big fires and this summer with more fires. People are starting to pay more attention to red flag days and knowing that our fire danger is really high and then some other people may not care about red flag days. My next steps are to interview four people and finish my annotated bib, post pictures and start writing my paper.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Today I went to Black Forest to take pictures of where the fire burned. The fire started a couple miles from the school Edith Wolford. The firefighters had to let the houses burn located by the school in order to save the school. The firefighters had a tuff choice to make. They saved both schools in located in Black Forest Edith Wolford and School in the Woods and Black Forest has multiple churches all the churches were also saved during the fire. The firefighters also saved as many homes that they could save. I will be interviewing four specialist sometime next week and interviewing them on their perspective on both Waldo Canyon Fire and Black Forest Fire and I will also be asking them questions about how our moisture levels effect our wildfire season. One of the people I will be interviewing Erin Duran provided me with an After Action Report on the Waldo Canyon Fire.
            I will also be posting pictures of the Waldo Canyon Fire on the blog. The pictures are of the fire burning and the night the fire came over the ridge. The pictures of Black Forest are pictures five years after the fire burned. The trees in this area are still black, because they were burned, but there is starting regrowth in these areas. Where I took pictures today there were piles of wood that had been cut down to start cleaning and to also start mitigating. Since the fire people have been doing a lot of mitigating on their properties and other places in Black Forest. 
            I did conduct another interview with a person who was evacuated during the Waldo Canyon Fire. Her name is Amanda when I asked her questions she said that the amount of moisture did have an effect on our fire season especially, because their was so much tree growth in the area. The area had not seen as much growth in years passed as it saw in 2012. When the fire started it was intense, because their was a drought in June and the tress burned, because they were so dry.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Independent study on low moisture levels and fire

This summer I am doing an independent study in my hometown of Colorado Springs. The research that I am conducting this summer is on our low moisture levels contributing to the Waldo Canyon Fire that happened in the summer of 2012 and Black Forest Fire happening in the summer of 2013. When I was doing my research in the beginning I found out that in the winters of 2012 and 2013 Colorado Springs did not receive a lot of snow. Then in June the temperatures were hotter and the hotter the temperature the dryer the land was during the time when both fires started. While I was conducting interviews and looking at sources I started to form a hypothesis that when the Hayman fire started the Springs was dry and in June we were pushing 90s, then in 2012 the springs was dry and the temperature in Junes was in the 90s. The same thing happened in 2013 when Black Forest started there was not a lot of moisture the temperatures were in the in 90s again. This summer the pattern is the same, because we had a very dry winter and not a lot of rain in the springtime. The temperature in June was in the 90s and high 90s and now there are multiple fires in the state. I have interviewed three people and will interview two or three more people. The people interviewed so far shared there experience what is like during the time of the fire when they had to evacuate. I interviewed one from the Waldo Canyon Fire and the other two people I interviewed were from the Black Forest Fire. They all shared what their thoughts were when the Waldo Canyon Fire and Black Forest Fire happened. The years when Colorado Springs had received a lot of snow in the winters the land was as dry and there was not as many red flag warnings.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

HCCA Internship Wrap-Up

    As the school year comes to a close, so does my internship with HCCA. When I first thought of non-profit conservation work, I thought of "fighting" on the front lines towards their causes and getting my hands dirty in the field. Although this is a big part of non-profit conservation work, one of the largest pieces that gets overlooked is the work done to plan events to get their work done or raise money and outreach and communicate to it's members or followers about these events and other causes. All of the emails, letters, volunteer coordination and event planning gets done in the background and really creates the structure for a non-profit's progress.
    I learned a ton during this semester with HCCA that I can use--and have used already--both in school and with other non-profits or organizations that I do/will work with. I have gained experience with soliciting donations, event advertisements, promoting an organization to gain support verbally or monetarily, organized event structure/agenda, organize volunteers, write concise and interesting informational "blurbs" to teach members about important topics, keeps members engaged through emails, newsletters, letters, and cards, and begin to think about ways to connect HCCA with more students at Western.
    Since joining HCCA as a member this past summer and now having worked for them for a semester, I have been able to see two sides of this conservation non-profit. This past summer I was able to volunteer with them and participate in cleanups, restoration work, and attend member events getting to follow along and hear about HCCA's work. Although this internship wasn't exactly what I was expecting when joining the HCCA team, it was really cool to be able to work on the other side of what I had experienced before and gain new skills that I will definitely utilize.