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Impact of last summer's fires on this summer's scenery?

Impact of last summer's fires on this summer's scenery?

Old Nov 12th, 2002, 09:57 AM
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Impact of last summer's fires on this summer's scenery?

We are planning a family vacation to the Steamboat Springs area this summer, and planning to stay at Vista Verde ranch. It just occurred to me that the fires from last year came close to that area, and I was wondering what kind of scenery to expect. Any ideas?

Old Nov 12th, 2002, 11:21 AM
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By the time you see them, the scrub growth will have already started.
Old Nov 13th, 2002, 08:08 AM
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Thanks for reply - so will all the trees be black, or will things be very green? Was this area hard hit last yr?
Old Nov 13th, 2002, 09:01 AM
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I can't speak for this specific area, but let me share some of the things we learned from our experience in Yellowstone after the fires raged there.

By the time we got to Yellowstone, the bark was off the trees, and there were places where, as far as you could see, you saw a landscape of grey, barren lodgepole pines with dense, green undergrowth. You will, more than likely, see a similar landscape with seemingly black pencil leads stivking out of the ground.

The undergrowth will probably be lush, as it begins to grow as soon as the ground cools and gathers moisture (One of the things that conifer trees do when heated in a firs is release their seeds, so they can begin re-growing immediately.
The most fascinating thing we discovered was the re-emergence of birds of prey...hawks, eagles, etc. The little rodent critters can't hide under the trees, so the birds fatten up.

Again, not an exact answer, but from our experience, I think this will give you some idea of what's out there. If I'm mistaken, there are plenty of people on this board who will correct me.
Old Nov 13th, 2002, 09:11 AM
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Thanks for the info on Yellowstone!

So, it seems to be this could actually be an opportunity to see some things we wouldn't normally see, and still have enough "nature" around us to feel like we're in Colorado.

Any other thoughts out there?

Thanks ;-)
Old Nov 13th, 2002, 09:59 AM
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I can speak for the Durango area, which experienced the Missionary Ridge Fire. Most of our hillsides look about the same as they have for years. There are some horribly burned areas, but there are even more areas that weren't touched.

The burned areas are interesting, in a macabre way, and not so noticable from a distance. As gc has written above, the plants, such as aspens making their way back up from their unburned roots, are inspiring.

I'm not aware of any large fires near Steamboat, but then we were all preoccupied with our own troubles down here.
Old Nov 13th, 2002, 11:28 AM
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S-Springs.....lucky you! My son lives there and there were indeed a number of fires. I'll have to ask him specifically about your question but from my knowledge, gc is correct. Remember fire is a natural and important feature that promotes new growth. The Ponderosa pinecones, for example, REQUIRE a temp of over 250 degrees to open and spread their seeds so while it some areas may look charred, fire is the vehicle that insures the forests regenerate.
Old Nov 15th, 2002, 07:56 AM
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Thanks for the further replies. Are there any specific things in the Steamboat Springs area we should try to see? Has anyone been to Vista Verde Ranch and has comments regarding it?

Old Nov 27th, 2002, 06:20 PM
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You will have a wonderful time in Steamboat. Most likely you won't even see the areas that burned, they are far from the town and you can't see them. The fires have been overstated somewhat, they were economically important but as a percentage of the state extremely small in acreage.

Places that I recomend would vary based on your level of fitness or desire to hike etc.

Here goes: Fish Creek Falls, a short walk and drive from town, very beautiful. Rent a mountain bike and get a ticket to use the gondola and ride downhill all day long. Hike to the top of Hahn's Peak and check out the old fire lookout station and the incredible view. Lots of others.

I am not familiar with the Vista Verde Ranch.

The e-mail address I used is real, and I grew up there, my parents still live there. Drop me a message any time and I'll try to point you in the right directions.

Fred Judson
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