Thursday, December 15, 2016

Colorado's Ever Growing Fires

How is Colorado suffering from fire? As many of you know, the fires around Colorado seem to be getting bigger and bigger. For many homeowners that is a terrifying thing as the wildfires are building in intensity and claiming more and more of our beautiful state. But why is this happening? In the past we have let our fear take over and we have spent enormous amounts of money, resources and even the lives of brave individuals to save homes. In these frantic efforts to protect the things we hold dear to our hearts, we have created more of a problem. Through fire suppression we have stopped a natural occurrence that historically would thin the understory and clear the dead fallen debris and ground litter. These natural occurrences even acted as pest control. The bark beetle that we are unfortunately becoming all too familiar with here, feeds on trees, however, they rely on the canopies of trees touching so they can pass from tree to tree. When fires were more common, they acted as nature’s logger and maintained separation between the trees and kept diseases and insects from spreading so rapidly and vastly. Currently to help prevent fires there are measures like removing the beetle killed trees and replanting saplings in hopes of rebuilding the forest before a fire can completely wipe out the massive dead areas. This seems counterintuitive due to the fact that I mentioned that one of the issues is that we are stopping fires however, simply allowing them to claim entire forests isn’t the best way to go about it either.

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