Wildfires in the West

Wildfires in the West

Maura Bennett
Maura Bennett

As Colorado firefighters continue to battle wildfires into mid-October, lawmakers in DC are looking at significant changes that would reduce such fires in the future.

The Colorado Farm Bureau is one of 13 state bureaus asking Congress to pass the Emergency Wildfire & Public Safety Act of 2020.

The bureaus sent a letter to Senate leadership in support of the bipartisan legislation to expedite forest management, accelerate post-fire restoration and reforestation and remove dead wood from national forests.

Forest Service Deputy Chief John Phipps recently testified at a House Subcommittee hearing on the scope of the wildfires fires in the western U.S.

Phipps: “It’s an understatement to say that this was an unprecedented year. Our nation is enduring a devastating wildfire year. One that has cut destructive swaths in states like California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Arizona and made more difficult by the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.”

Phipps was speaking before the Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry

Colorado’s largest fires have burned more than 320,000 acres in the state so far.

The Cameron Peak Fire, east of Walden is about 135,000 acres. It is 47 percent contained.

The Mullen Fire that crossed into Colorado from the Medicine Bow Mountains in Wyoming is about 27% contained. That fire has burned more than 175,000 acres. That’s larger than the Pine Gulch Fire.

The Grizzly Creek Fire east of Glenwood Springs is about 33,000 acres and 91 percent contained.

The Middle Fork Fire north of Steamboat Springs has burned nearly 18,000 acres.

The largest fire in the state's history, the Pine Gulch Fire, was finally contained in September after burning for almost two months. It burned around 139,000 acres.

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