Friday, April 20, 2012

Lower North Fork Fire Report Released

Pyro-cumulus from the Lower North Fork Fire

The State of Colorado released a report on the prescribed burn (read fiasco) that lead to the Lower North Fork Fire which killed three people and destroyed homes in Jefferson County.  According to the press release, several factors contributed to the disaster:
  • Unburned fuels and residual heat still present within the prescribed burn area four days after the initial burn.
  • Routinely successful best practices, including a 200-foot buffer around the burn, proved to be ineffective.
  • Professional judgment by fire managers that the burn was secure and that readiness for wildfires in uncontrolled settings took priority.
  • Weather and fire behavior projections that did not sufficiently predict the complete set of circumstances.
  • Rapidly escalating winds creating spot fires that exceeded the capacity of firefighters on the ground.
The full text of the report is available here.

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