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exbiologist's picture
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Fire information

So far it's been a quiet year here in Colorado, but we've had a few fires so far. Presently there are uncontained fires in units 32 and 82. The Medano Fire in unit 82 is burning over 4500 acres in the Sangre De Cristos just outside of Great Sand Dunes National Park. The Water Creek Fire is just 175 acres. The Beaver fire is now contained, but it was up McKenzie Creek in unit 61.
Here's a map of the present large fires
http://activefiremaps.fs.fed.us/lg_fire2.php

And you can download the perimeters of each fire to view in google earth here:
http://www.geomac.gov/
The southwest has had more and larger fires so far, but Idaho has a few going on too.
As the summer heats up check in with the National Interagency Fire Center frequently to see if your hunting area is toast.

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Re: Fire information

One thing for a lot of hunters to know is that once the area is burnt over and the new growth starts to appear it is a magnet to game animals. I have seen this time and time again where the elk an deer start to move into the burnt area. In 2002 a major fire burnt quite a bit of the Book Cliffs in Utah in early summer. By that August and September the new growth had started to come up and the animals flocked to it the deer in patictular. You would see real nice bucks just laying in the ash on a burnt off slope and the elk would be in the small pockets of unburnt trees and then move into the burnt area at night to feed. So all is not lost once the fire is over.

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Re: Fire information

Yes, but it's important for that fire to happen early in the summer. A September or late August fire will likely make the area unusable in the fall. But it also depends on how bad the fire was. An early to mid summer fire, followed by decent rain can really improve things.

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Re: Fire information

Thanks for the post, Ex. I was wondering where I could find that info. That will be a huge help. Thumbs up

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Re: Fire information

new fire on roosevelt Nat forest burning north of Estes park sounds like in difficult terrain to access. Last reported over 6000 acres moving in timber with the wind. Don't know what unit that is but might be of interest to someone.

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Re: Fire information

Yeah I just saw it from my house, 9 news only says 12 acres, but looks a lot bigger. It's up West Creek, outside of Glen Haven, but still in the Park for now. No roads up there, so it'll be spreading I imagine. It's unit 20, but so far, not anywhere we could hunt anyway

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Re: Fire information

for those who want more info you can use wildlandfire.com, go to hotlist, choose the region ie; Ca,Hi or Rocky mountain region. The sight is run by fireman and you can get lots of up to date info even with fire maps of current fires showing exactly where the fire is. As we move deeper into summer the sight will have more info. Lots of reports on there come from guys on the line or in fire base camps. As a fireman, i use it alot to see whats going on for strike team stuff.

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Re: Fire information

It's a lot easier to consider the positive aspects of fire when it's burning in some place other than your own hunting grounds. We've taken 14 elk off the immediate perimeter of the Medano fire. I have my doubts that we'll be able to hunt there at all next fall.

I can't do anything but watch at this point and hope for late summer rains. Most of the country where it it heading is very rugged thick pinon and juniper with low rainfall potential. It will be good to open up the forest but the grass won't come back very quickly.

I must be getting old as I don't care much for "change" anymore.

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Re: Fire information

Quite often the best thing that can happen to a pinon and juniper forest is a nice fire. If you look at them they provide very little feed for the animals but it does provide protection for them. I remember back in the 70's in Utah when the BLM proposed to chain off quite a few acres of pinion and juniper in Southern Utah. Just about all the people that you talked to were opposed to this and thought that it would destroy the ecosystem. Well a year after they chained it off there were streams running where there hadn't been any water in over 60 years along with the native grasses that came up. Today that same area is a nice grass land with patches of trees and animals all over the place. Just in the last 10 years the same thing happened in the Henry Mountains in Utah where the state has a bison heard and trophy deer hunting. In the years up to a fire you couldn't even walk through the lower sections of the mountains due the the heavy pinion and juniper. Today it is becoming an open grass land that the bison and huge deer love. So just be paitent and you will see a lot better forest for the fires.

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Fire

Thanks for the link exbiologist. You put many of good things on here and enjoy everyone of them!

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