Scouring soil, sowing seeds and spending millions for wildfire recovery in Glenwood Canyon
Glenwood Springs is spending more than $10 million on repairs and upgrades to water supply infrastructure following Grizzly Creek Fire.
GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The Grizzly Creek Fire was not even 10% contained. Jumbo jets still were dousing flames as firefighting teams from across the country scrambled to protect Glenwood Springs and a critical watershed above the Colorado River. And teams of scientists were in Glenwood Canyon, too, battling alongside firefighters.
Those hydrologists, biologists, geologists, archaeologists and recreation specialists are still there, even after the flames are gone, waging a behind-the-scenes battle to protect water and natural resources.
“So much of the wildfire recovery process is out of the public eye, but I think this is critically important,” said White River National Forest ecologist Elizabeth Roberts, who coordinated the multi-agency team of scientists who responded to the Grizzly Creek Fire while the flames raged unabated. “This was absolutely a community team effort to work through the wildfire and the short and long-term effect of this wildfire. We are going to be here for a while.”
Burned Area Emergency Response — or BAER — teams typically come in when a fire is 50% contained to assess damage and create a multi-year restoration plan. Roberts and the Grizzly Creek Fire BAER crew were on the ground when less than 10% of the fire was contained as both forest and fire managers recognized threats to water supplies. In less than three weeks, they had a map detailing where the Grizzly Creek Fire burned hottest, which helped the Colorado Department of Transportation identify areas where rockfall hazards increased in the fire.
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