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I thought you would be interested in this article from environment: YALE magazine, the Journal of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
By Jon Luoma
The frenzied 2002 wildfire season on the front range of the Rocky Mountains southwest of Denver got an early and intense start. On an April afternoon, teenagers sneaking a cigarette in the woods behind Platte Canyon High School on the edge of the town of Bailey inadvertently set off the first big one, a conflagration that would sweep across 2,600 acres.
That had Chris Hendrick and his wife, Beatrice, scrambling. Chris, a Spanish teacher and coach at the high school, wound up rushing back toward home from an afternoon track meet at another school after he got word of the fire, which at first had seemed tamed but was spreading fast.
Beatrice, meanwhile, found herself loading their two small children and a couple of other kids she was looking after into their minivan after smoke began to billow menacingly over a ridge near their home a few miles from town.
Their house was never actually threatened, but in what Chris called “a really scary year,” fires kept coming “one after another after another. We were waking up almost every morning to the smell of smoke.”
The June Hayman Fire, only about five miles east of Bailey, was the worst of that terrible season—in fact, the worst wildfire in Colorado’s recorded history. Propelled by dry winds, it raced across 60,000 acres on a single day, in the end scorching 138,000 acres across four counties. Although much of the burned landscape was within the Pike National Forest, the…
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