Colorado experienced a series of active wildfires this year. Tens of thousands of acres were burned in the late spring and early summer alone. The first fires came a year after 650,000 acres burned in Colorado's worst fire season on record and amid fears from state and federal officials that conditions will worsen – especially among the drought conditions in the Western Slope.
The droughts in the Western Slope of Colorado have persisted, and many are now predicting that there will be an “above normal” chance for large wildfires in that area. The latest forecasts from the National Interagency Fire Center show that these wildfires can potentially happen from July to September this year. As a result of climate change, Colorado continues to grow hotter and drier increasing the risk of large wildfires across the state.
On August 13, 2020, firefighters were alerted to a fire in the Upper Poudre River Watershed near Cameron Pass. The fire ignited and burned for 112 days. It became the largest wildfire in Colorado’s recorded history, covering 208,913 acres (a square mile is 640 acres). Currently, the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
CameronPeak Fire Impacts According to the Poudre Watershed Coalition:
- Over 1,050 stream miles (596 mi are in the Poudre watershed)
- 325 mile long fire perimeter
- 124 trail miles (95 mi in the Poudre watershed)
- Over 41,700 acres of designated Wilderness Areas burned
- 32 miles of Wild and Scenic river corridor burned
- Three watersheds affected - Poudre, Big Thompson & Laramie
- At least five reservoirs that store and deliver water to the Front Range for agriculture and drinking water needs
- At least 16 mountain communities and neighborhoods in the burn area or immediately adjacent to it have been affected
- 492 structures destroyed (residential and outbuildings)
For more information on the Cameron Peak Fire and upcoming restoration projects, please visit www.poudrewatershed.org/cameronpeakfire.
We are again partnering with our allies at the Poudre Watershed Coalition to aid in their fight against wild forest fires and post-fire restoration. In collaboration with Cole McCullough, friend, wildland firefighter and previous Akinz employee, we will be hosting another fundraiser later this summer and donating funds to the Poudre Watershed Coalition to help with their Cameron Peak Fire Restoration Projects.
Cole is a talented artist and current wildland firefighter who will be hand illustrating a new design for the wildfire restoration project! Be sure to follow us on social media and sign up for our newsletter for updates on the fundraiser and the release of this new collection!
How to Stay Safe During Wildfires?
As wildfires continue to rage on, it's important for the general public to become more informed about how to avoid the health risks involved. With the Environmental Protection Agency's wildfire smoke guide and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidance on reducing health risks from wildfires, there are plenty of resources available for those who want to know more.
How Can I Reduce the Risk of Wildfires?
Firstly, for more immediate and direct fire prevention tips, the Red Cross has great resources. Pay attention to local guidelines and fire warnings. Be mindful of any campfires, bonfires, and cooking or heating methods while in the outdoors. Always pay attention to where you are smoking and how you put out and dispose of your butts. Officials recommended using a sturdy, deep ashtray.
Second, as we have mentioned before, Climate Change has gravely affected Colorado’s wildlife and environment and will continue to do so until we address some of the larger issues. This obviously needs to be a long-term effort, but it’s important to start taking steps, large and small, to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
If you are interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle, here are a couple of super easy first steps!
1. Support Local! When you buy locally and support small businesses, you can reduce your carbon footprint substantially!
2. Re-Use! By purchasing re-usable alternatives, you help to prevent waste in our environment. Here at Akinz, we definitely believe in the power that re-usability has! Check out some of our re-usable products.
3. Recycle! We know this is a commonly known method of sustainability, but that's because it is one of the best and easiest ways for every day Joe to help protect our planet :) Plus, the less waste, the less fire starter!
That's all for now, but if you are interested in learning more, follow this link for more information on Sustainable Living, and ways you can help!