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Forest Fires Change Bicycling Plans

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Forest Fires Change Bicycling Plans

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Old 06-11-13, 06:27 PM
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DnvrFox
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Forest Fires Change Bicycling Plans

I was planning on mountain biking in south Douglas County tomorrow. But, right now we have huge fires in the "Black Forest" - a forested elevated area on the plains of very upscale homes, bible camps and the light north of Colorado Springs. Numerous have been burned. This is near where I was going to go.

I am listening on the internet (Radioreference.com) to an attempt to save an entrapped individual in the fire. They are currently trying to save an elementary school. We also have fires in Rocky Mountain Park and near the Royal Gorge with several buildings destroyed there.

In my younger years I was a forest fire fighter and fire lookout in So CA.

Temp was 100+ here - warmest earliest spring day ever, high winds.

I will go swimming, ride nearby and stay safe. My home is not in danger.

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Old 06-11-13, 08:00 PM
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I hope all goes well. Maybe one day fire proof structures will make all of this just a bad pollution day.
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Old 06-12-13, 01:47 PM
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Lots of areas are now paying the price for over aggressive fire fighting in past generations. At the same time our ever increasing human population is putting people in places they never were even a few years ago. As an example: On the TV the other night they showed what the area where that Oklahoma tornado did so much damage both today and as it was a few years ago. Major population growth and many new structures. Same thing is true in the Colorado Springs area I'm sure.
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Old 06-12-13, 02:37 PM
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So, instead, I did a 30 mile ride - with a swim and later a lunch thrown in. The wind has shifted on the fire, now coming from the south - which is no good news for the homes around the fire, as there are more consumable houses headed north then east.

Last report I had was 100+ homes burned, 0% containment.

UPDATE

Latest - 18 minutes ago:

"Black Forest" fire has burned well over 8,000 acres, at least 100 homes with more burning and 0% containment. Winds have picked up & changed directions, mandatory evac zone covers most of NW El Paso Cnty. 6 heavy/super tankers operating. (18 minutes ago)"

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Old 06-12-13, 02:52 PM
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Are these like those in the fire last year where the developer and the government were told it was a fire danger area and they still built, allowed to be built, houses that due to constructiion were literally just waiting to burn?
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Old 06-12-13, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by HawkOwl View Post
Are these like those in the fire last year where the developer and the government were told it was a fire danger area and they still built, allowed to be built, houses that due to constructiion were literally just waiting to burn?
Unknown. I know we never considered living in any urban/forest interface areas.

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Old 06-12-13, 04:38 PM
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I am in Denver and this afternoon,while out in the yard,and on a ride, I could smell the smoke,,,Its been a tough summer fire wise around here....Bud
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Old 06-12-13, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post
Unknown. I know we never considered living in any urban/forest interface areas.
You thought about it. Most people don't know enough to ask or judge. They rely on government inspections, zoning rules, etc. to protect them. Then when their house with wood roof, trees right up to the house, etc. burns they are surprised, and, once they discover the facts, angry. Following that many are broke because their house insurance doesn't cover everything.

So far this year our fires have been pretty small. Not like a few years ago when, literally, there was so much smoke the chickens roosted at mid-day. Probably still have some ash and smoke particles in my lungs from that.
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Old 06-12-13, 05:20 PM
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My buddy is a squad leader for the Carson Hotshot crew based in Taos. Great article this month in Outside Magazine detailing the Hotshot crew based in Lake Tahoe. We've got a couple of big fires in NM, but not endangering as many homes as in CO. Good luck Colorado!
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Old 06-12-13, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by HawkOwl View Post
You thought about it. Most people don't know enough to ask or judge. They rely on government inspections, zoning rules, etc. to protect them. Then when their house with wood roof, trees right up to the house, etc. burns they are surprised, and, once they discover the facts, angry. Following that many are broke because their house insurance doesn't cover everything.

So far this year our fires have been pretty small. Not like a few years ago when, literally, there was so much smoke the chickens roosted at mid-day. Probably still have some ash and smoke particles in my lungs from that.
Yes, we thought about it - a lot. We have an area about 10 miles from us called the Pinery - appropriately so - and I have many, many friends who live there. And, I can't figure out why. It is simply a fire trap.

As a kid and growing up I was exposed to fires, fire behavior and the like. I fought fires for 3 summers, also being a relief fire lookout. However, despite our mutual upbringing, both my sisters live in urban-forest interfacing areas. My sister in CA was almost burned out a few years ago in that huge San Diego County fire - it started just a few yards from her homel Folks living in the same area died.
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Old 06-12-13, 06:06 PM
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I've lived here for 52 years and I never considered the Black Forest to be such a big fire risk. It's a forested ridge separating Colorado Springs and Denver with a grid of roads all throughout. Nothing even resembling a mountain. No problems getting fire engines and heavy equipment in. Right? Not quite.

Most of the homes are on well water so no fire hydrants. All the water to fight the fire had to be trucked in... or flown in. The temperature was over 90 with 1% humidity and high winds. It overwhelmed the first responders with flying embers. The fire jumped from spot to spot leaving large areas untouched. No way it could be stopped.

The wind shifted and now homes that survived the first wave are burning as the fire comes back the other way.
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Old 06-14-13, 08:01 AM
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Dnvr

I know that there are really dumb laws in Calif that prevent people that have houses in wooded areas from cutting trees and brush very far back from their houses. Is there any restrictions like that in Colo?
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Old 06-14-13, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Dnvr

I know that there are really dumb laws in Calif that prevent people that have houses in wooded areas from cutting trees and brush very far back from their houses. Is there any restrictions like that in Colo?
Not that I know of. Instead, there is always a big push to remove trees, brush, needles, etc., in order to create a "defensible zone." Some insurance companies require it.

However, when large pine trees are so dry they act as torches, sending burning embers thousands of feet in advance of the fire when winds are 50 mph, it is pretty hard to defend unless one has a non-burnable roof, etc.

I was listening to the scanner as the fire folks were trying to save a house. The idiot owner HAD STACKED HIS FIREWOOD RIGHT AGAINST THE HOUSE!!! The woodpile was on fire, torching the house. I mean, dumb??

Recently, things have gotten a lot warmer in CO. When I lived here in the 60's and 70's, hardly anyone had A/C, nor did they need it. Now lots of folks have A/C and, yes, they do need it. Also, the population has about tripled, and a lot of folks moving here from other states want to live under the pine trees and firs on hillsides.

One of the reasons we sold our condo in the high mountains was due to the pine bark beetle killing the trees and there being only one escape road for about 1,000 residents and guests, down a windy, steep road. Someday, that will burn. It is nature's way to clean the forest.

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Old 06-14-13, 09:11 PM
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Dnvr

Of topic but I was looking at the paragraph at the bottom of your post. What kind of squadron was it and what did you fly?
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Old 06-14-13, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Dnvr

Of topic but I was looking at the paragraph at the bottom of your post. What kind of squadron was it and what did you fly?


The only thing we flew was paper!!

It was a student training squadron. We provided military training, housing and support for about 800 students who were enrolled in a ultra top-secret school called - for want of a better name - "Special Instruments." We were the equivalent of a college Dean of Students, if you will.

The only "official" flights I took on USAF planes was to and from a badminton tournament in Texas.

However, most of those in the USAF did not fly planes, and were in support positions of one sort or another.

The best thing was that I met my wife in Colorado - the furthest east I had ever been (being from San Diego), and the furthest west my wife had ever been, being from Washington, DC.

Sorry to disappoint you!!

Incidentally, I found that patch - which I never kept - on an internet search. There is a web page which collects and displays all sorts of military patches and other stuff.

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Old 06-14-13, 11:05 PM
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I am in South Park, hit 80F today, which for us is HOT.

It can only be a question of when the Summit goes up.

On a bike front the Tour Divide started today, well the Grand Depart. Leaders should be getting to us in 10 or so days.
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Old 06-15-13, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by DnvrFox View Post


The only thing we flew was paper!!
An ex-USAF friend calls it the "Chair Force".
(He worked with computers.)
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Old 06-15-13, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
An ex-USAF friend calls it the "Chair Force".
(He worked with computers.)
My future wife at the time was amazed that we had no guns!! She thought that Lowry TTC could protect the city - this was during the Cuban missile crisis. Besides the nuclear weapons secretly stored on the base, the only folks with arms were the Air Police.
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Old 06-15-13, 12:23 PM
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Ride the Roockiez route redirected yesterday. Made it a 94 miler and lonest RtR in its history. Loved the new route.
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Old 06-16-13, 07:05 AM
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Dnvr

Its kinda funny, I spent 4 years in the Navy and was never on a ship. After electronics school I spent 3 years at the south end of SF bay at Moffett Field running a flight simulator. I got to go on training flights which totaled up to probably 300 hours. I even got to fly our Super Connies a few times to get the feel of the real aircraft so that we could make the simulator feel like the real airplane.

Sure hope the weather cooperates and the fire fighters get a handle on those fires. We lived in the Boulder area for a year, and enjoyed the whole area. Sure hate to see the scenery destroyed, and of course especially the homes.
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Old 06-16-13, 07:48 AM
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I spent the day at the Oxnard National Weather Service on Friday for a "show and tell" they put on for Meteorology community college teachers. Utterly facinating! One disturbing tidbit that came out of one of the presentatons is that the Long Range Forecasting unit out of Washington D.C. has predicted, for the next three months, dryer and warmer conditions than normal for the western states. With the lack of precipitation this past winter/spring, they are bracing themselves for a very active fire season.

Ride safe, everyone, and those in fire zones might want to keep their family photographs and improtant papers in the car. I went to church last night so that I can ride up this morning while it is still cool and see the damage from the Powerhouse Fire we had the other week.
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Old 06-16-13, 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Dnvr

Its kinda funny, I spent 4 years in the Navy and was never on a ship. After electronics school I spent 3 years at the south end of SF bay at Moffett Field running a flight simulator. I got to go on training flights which totaled up to probably 300 hours. I even got to fly our Super Connies a few times to get the feel of the real aircraft so that we could make the simulator feel like the real airplane.
When I was in high school, I did an internship at what was then Convair (became General Dynamics and I don't know what now) and I tested radomes for signal deflection, and watched the brand new F102's/106's from the test towers as they screamingly left the San Diego Lindbergh Field runway, cutting in their afterburners just to show off. I got closer to planes there than I ever did in the USAF!!
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Old 06-16-13, 12:57 PM
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I've been belly-aching about our wet, cool weather pattern of the past several months. Though we've had some localized flooding I am thankful that we have not faced anywhere's near the devastation that the tornado and forest fire victims have had to deal with.
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Old 06-16-13, 05:16 PM
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Comments about the weather reminded me of comments by several science types who do very long historical studies. Of course I think they are bright because they agree with me, don't you know.

The claim is that we are leaving a time of climate and weather stability that is relatively unusual in our planetary history. That we are returning to a time when large variations and instability are the norm.

My belief, for which I have been laughed at, is that we ought to put all our resources into figuring out how to ensure our species survival. The planet will take care of itself. After all life exists in some pretty hostile places in the sea. Other creatures that need the same living conditions as us will come along for the ride. Otherwise we may go the way of species before us.
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Old 06-17-13, 07:53 AM
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Finally I read that they fires are 65% contained, and maybe some rain is possible.
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