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Stopping by Grizzly Creek on a snowy afternoon in January

September 12, 2020

Grizzly Creek – the site of one of Colorado’s worst fires – flowing into the Colorado River (above in the photo) on January 20, 2020. Incalcuable damage to birds and wildlife.

The fires in Colorado – bad as they are – are modest compared to those seeming to ignite the entire west coast from S. California to Washington State, although we’ve had some terrible ones with the forest fire season still quite young.

One of these Colorado fires, the Grizzly Creek fire, swept through Glenwood Canyon (just east of Glenwood Springs) closing down I-70 , the inter-state for more than two weeks. The fire began on August 10 closing the interstate during which time no vital supplies could be trucked in from the west on the interstate. I-70 was reopened on the 24 and then closed again for a few days. It reopened.

As of yesterday (Sptember 11, 20200 it was 91% contained – whatever that means – with about 100 personnel remain on the fire, monitoring the open containment lines and continuing suppression repair as roads dry to allow better access. The fire has consumed some 32,410 acres of land both north and south of the Colorado River at Grizzly Creek. Grizzly Creek flows into the Colorado River from the north.

This morning looking at the information on the fires here in Colorado on-line, I remembered that earlier in the year, on our way to Glenwood Springs to spend a few days in the mineral pools there, we stopped at a rest area at Grizzy Creek and I-70. We stopped there for about a half hour, walked around a bit, saw the spot where the creek flows into the Colorado River. There was a path leading up Grizzly Creek that was blocked by snow. We spoke about how sometime it would be nice to check the path out and hike up it a ways. We had passed that way many times over the past half century and never stopped. Decided it was time. Pleasant place, even given the cold temperaturs of that day. Below another photo of the Colorado River just east of Grizzly Creek, taken the same day, now charred beyond belief.

This morning looking at the information on the fires here in Colorado on-line, I remembered that earlier in the year, on our way to Glenwood Springs to spend a few days in the mineral pools there, we stopped at a rest area at Grizzy Creek and I-70. We stopped there for about a half hour, walked around a bit, saw the spot where the creek flows into the Colorado River. There was a path leading up Grizzly Creek that was blocked by snow. We spoke about how sometime it would be nice to check the path out and hike up it a ways. We had passed that way many times over the past half century and never stopped. Decided it was time. Pleasant place, even given the cold temperaturs of that day. Below another photo of the Colorado River just east of Grizzly Creek, taken the same day, now charred beyond belief.

Grizzly Creek fire views from south of Glenwood Springs

There are two other fires (among about a dozen) currently burning in Colorado which are considerably larger, the Pine Gulch fire 17 miles northeast of Ft. Collins – considered at the moment the largest in the state’s history at 139,000 acres. It is 95% contained at present. But the Cameron Peaks’ fire just west of Ft. Collins, it only 4% contained has now burned more than 100,000 acres and is still going strong.

In an email a few days ago, a Ft. Collins friend, wrote the following, this two days ago:

Regarding non nuclear clouds, this past Sunday a dark black cloud of smoke and ash sat over the entire Fort Collins area all day.  From mid morning to late afternoon the light was so dim and near dark, like say 6;30 PM, cars needed to turn on headlights.  Ash fell from the cloud visible on cars and leaves.  Only good part was the cloud didn’t descend down onto the area which would have been toxic for all, given its darkness and density.  In early evening the cold front started to arrive and I did not see in darkness, the smoke mass being blown away. Another singular day in life, but one shared with many on the west coast from Canada to Mexico now with all the huge fires there

This morning looking at the information on the fires here in Colorado on-line, I remembered that earlier in the year, on our way to Glenwood Springs to spend a few days in mineral pools there, we stopped at a rest area at Grizzy Creek and I-70.

To date across the West, from Colorado to the Pacific Ocean forest fires have comsumed 4.7 million acres of land – and the fire season has hardly begun.

Looking east from Grizzly Creek to the Colorado River. January 20, 2020. The fire jumped the Colorado River (from the left to the right in this photo) although most of the damage was done to the north of the river up Grizzly Creek to the surrounding mountain areas.

One Comment leave one →
  1. William Conklin permalink
    September 12, 2020 3:22 pm

    A friend of mine had to evacuate her house in Northern Colorado. Another fellow I know who works for a Colorado Fire Department said that when the fires really hit the front range, it will be worse than Katrina. It is not an “if” it is a “when”. Just look at all the dead wood between Grand Lake and Vail.

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