Years of government mismanagement… (Update… Poudre canyon fire)

Chickens coming home to roost…

Numbers 32:23 (KJV)
… be sure your sin will find you out…

Fire seen from Colorado County Road 80C in Larimer County, northwest of Fort Collins… 9 June 2012


“U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., was on his way to the area Saturday to meet with fire managers. He said decades of mismanagement, forests packed full of trees and persistent drought conditions have resulted in an explosive situation.”

Western wildfires forcing evacuations (associated press)

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN | Associated Press –  10 June 2012

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Firefighters in Colorado and New Mexico are battling wind-fueled wildfires that are moving fast through parched forests, forcing scores of evacuations and destroying or damaging numerous structures.

A blaze in northern Colorado was first reported Saturday morning and had grown to about 8,000 acres by mid-evening, while a fire in southern New Mexico was small for a few days until it began growing Friday, reaching about 10,000 acres.

Both fires have damaged property and forced numerous evacuations, but officials haven’t yet released specific figures on the numbers who fled.

The wildfire in the mountainous Paradise Park area, about 20 miles northwest of Fort Collins, prompted several dozen evacuation orders.

Larimer County Sheriff’s Office spokesman John Schulz said the fire expanded rapidly during the late afternoon and evening and by Saturday night, residents living along several roads in the region had been ordered to evacuate and many more were warned that they might have to flee. An evacuation center has been set up at a Laporte middle school.

Officials didn’t specify how many residents had evacuated but said they had sent out 800 emergency notifications urging people to be prepared to evacuate if necessary.

Law officers went door to door to alert people in the evacuation area, but officials were worried that not everyone got the word.

“Right now we’re just trying to get these evacuations done and get people safe,” Schulz told Denver-based KMGH-TV, adding that “given the extreme heat in the area, it makes it a difficult time for (the firefighters).”

Ten structures have been damaged, although authorities were unsure if they were homes or some other kind of buildings. No injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire was unknown.

Aerial footage from KMGH-TV showed flames coming dangerously close to what appeared to be several outbuildings and at least one home in the area, as well as consuming trees and sending a large plume of smoke into the air.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it was authorizing federal funds to help pay for firefighting efforts.

Two heavy air tankers, five single-engine air tankers and four helicopters were on the scene to help fight the blaze, which appeared to be burning on private and U.S. Forest Service land and was being fueled by sustained winds of between 20 and 25 mph.

“It was just good conditions to grow,” National Weather Service meteorologist Chad Gimmestad told The Associated Press. “The conditions today were really favorable for it to take off.”

Wind was also playing a major role in the expansion of a lightning-sparked blaze in New Mexico’s Lincoln National Forest that jumped its containment lines and raced through thick conifer forests. Fire managers said 20 structures were damaged or destroyed.

Spanning only a few acres on Wednesday, the Little Bear fire began to grow Friday and by Saturday afternoon about 10,000 acres had been charred northwest of the mountain community of Ruidoso.

“It’s nerve-racking right now,” Mayor Ray Alborn said in a telephone interview Saturday, as he watched what he described as “real heavy smoke” rise from the Sierra Blanca mountain range.

The mix of timber, dry grass and the steepness of the slopes were making the firefighting efforts more difficult. Windy conditions were also limiting what could be done from the air by helicopters and air tankers, Alborn said.

“Today all we see is smoke,” he said. “Last night, we saw the flames too and it was an awesome expression of power. It was red, red and we could see it going across the top.”

Fire information officers said summer homes in a few subdivisions and several campgrounds were evacuated late Friday, and more on homes on Saturday. Roads throughout the area were closed, said forest spokeswoman Peg Crim.

The fire was burning in steep, rocky, inaccessible terrain in the White Mountain Wilderness of the Lincoln National Forest, which is home to Smokey Bear, the little black cub that became the nation’s symbol of fire prevention in the 1940s.

U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., was on his way to the area Saturday to meet with fire managers. He said decades of mismanagement, forests packed full of trees and persistent drought conditions have resulted in an explosive situation.

“We just can’t keep managing our forests this way. It’s not a question of if our forests in the West are going to burn, it’s a matter of when. This is just one more demonstration of that,” he said.

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Update… Poudre river fire jumps river…

Poudre Canyon fire in Larimer county Colorado, Thursday 14 June 2012

Colorado wildfire: High Park fire jumps Poudre River; 80 homes ordered evacuated

By Joey Bunch and Tom McGhee
The Denver Post

Posted:   06/15/2012 01:00:00 AM MDT
Updated:   06/15/2012 05:25:05 AM MDT

LARIMER COUNTY —The raging High Park fire jumped the Cache la Poudre River at Stevens Gulch on Thursday afternoon and began racing north toward the Glacier View Meadows neighborhood.

Resources were quickly refocused in the hope of keeping in check the blaze that started when a thunderstorm parked over the southwest corner of the fire kicked up winds about 4:30 p.m., causing trees to flame and spreading embers past the northern perimeter established by the river and Colorado 14 in Poudre Canyon.

It was exactly what incident commander Bill Hahnenberg said he hoped would not happen.

At a morning briefing, Hahnenberg said he worried that high winds and low humidity would allow the troublesome west flank to
“make a several-mile run. And it could do that. If it does, it could go across the river and then we have a whole different fire to deal with.”

It was also something fire managers had been planning to combat for days.

Brett Haberstick, incident command spokesman, said four Type 1 hot-shot teams, structure-protection specialists and air resources were hitting the 60- to 100-acre spot fire burning on Sheep Mountain.

“All of this was preplanned on the possibility this would happen,” Haberstick said. “We have resources responding in a way to keep the spot fire at its smallest possible size.”

About 80 homes in the neighborhood were evacuated. The rest of Glacier View Meadows remains on pre-evacuation notice.

“We are taking this very seriously,” said Larimer County sheriff’s executive officer Nick Christensen as helicopters rumbled past carrying buckets of water. “It looks like we can get a handle on it, but it is concerning when fire gets out of a perimeter you would like to keep.”

Christensen said the official tally of burned homes has increased to 48 as structure assessment teams make their way through the burn zone.

“It is clear that we will find out we have lost additional homes,” he said.

By 8 p.m. Thursday, the fire had chewed through more than 52,000 acres of mostly federal forest land. It is about 15 percent contained.

“We are managing this fire with patience and the right amount of aggressiveness,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said at an earlier briefing, reiterating what Hahnenberg had told him. ” This fight is just beginning.”

Salazar, noting that members of the National Guard are on the fire lines, said the Department of Defense has “assets” on standby.

The fight against the fire from the air resumed about 1 p.m. Thursday. Tankers flying from Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Broomfield had been grounded because of heavy smoke, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Steve Segin.

Crews have been setting backburns to slow the fire’s progress, using pingpong balls filled with flammable chemicals that are shot from a helicopter and burst into flame when they hit the ground, lighting small fuels, such as pine needles, on fire, Haberstick said.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a ban on open burning and private use of fireworks. The ban does not apply to campfires in constructed, permanent fire pits in campground and recreation sites.

Professional fireworks shows are OK, Hickenlooper said.

“We’re not telling people not to go outside and enjoy the outdoors,” Hickenlooper said. “We’re going to celebrate the Fourth of July.”

Haberstick said the weather might aid the battle today. Humidity levels are expected to rise to about 60 percent in the valleys and 40 percent on ridge tops, up from 20 percent to 30 percent in the previous two days.

“This is extremely good news,” he said. “Humidity retards the fire’s ability to grow and ignite other fuels.”

By 7 p.m. Thursday, the Glacier View Meadows neighborhood was a ghost town.

Gassing up at the The Forks convenience store in Livermore, evacuee Jerry Walton said it is unlikely his home will burn.

“But I guess I don’t want to be the fool who stays and gets it,” he said.

Staff writers Kieran Nicholson, Tegan Hanlon and Erin Udell contributed to this report.

Revelation 11:18 (NIV)
The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great–and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”