Connect with us


Fire Circle, Fire Cyles

If there’s anything that’s true about fire, it’s that there is a cycle it follow and creates. 



During June and July, and probably until the snow smothers the last embers, the West Fork Complex Fire has burned 109,000-plus acres of the Rio Grande and San Juan National Forests.

In a circle of fire exists individual points of light, opportunity, life, duty, task, tree, otter, beaver, lynx, deer, elk, pine cone, stream, river, home, rock, person, memory, hope. When one sees the numerous factors of a fire’s containment, the circles begin to interconnect.

If there’s anything that’s true about fire, it’s that there is a cycle that it follows and creates and the West Fork Complex Fire reflects it.

If there’s anything that’s true about fire, it’s that there is a cycle that it follows and creates and the West Fork Complex Fire reflects it. Drought suppresses trees’ immune systems, spruce pine beetles infest said trees which then die. Lightning strikes on the buildup of fuels, spring winds push oxygen into the flames, fires burn, rain falls, heat subsides, grasses begin to grow again within weeks of burning, aspen trees will fill in the dead spruce-fire forest, and the cycle begins again.

Add humans and the cycle becomes more complicated and the consequences more intense, because we have suppressed fires and humans live closer to the fire’s fuel. Fire destroys more infrastructure, takes more lives, costs more money, and requires more bureaucracy to fight.

To an outsider’s eye, fighting fire happens in cycles and circles of reconnaissance and containment, circles of support, circles of co-workers who become circles of friends, circles of life.

Containment is the concept of trapping the fire within itself by letting the fire run into natural boundaries like rock, a body of water, or by hemming it in with a hand- or dozer-hewn fire line. The most common type of containment is a line dug around the entire fire. Fire command chose to fight the West Fork Complex Fire with another containment method.

“Because of steep and rocky terrain, we decided in cooperation with the National Forests, to use the point protection strategy,” said Sarah Gracey, Public Information Officer with the Kentucky Division of Forestry, who has been contracted to work on the fire. “The decisions had to do with the (inaccessible) wilderness areas and the very dry fuels that fed the fire. We were seeing areas of up to 70 percent beetle killed trees.”

Since 2004, more than 380,000 acres of trees in the Rio Grande National Forest have succumbed to the spruce-pine beetle infestation.

Since 2004, more than 380,000 acres of trees in the Rio Grande National Forest have succumbed to the spruce-pine beetle infestation.

Phil Daniels, Incident Commander with the Division of Fire Prevention and Control with the State of Colorado, concurred. “Point protection strategy takes into consideration the values that need to be protected like homes, power lines, water sources, bridges,” Daniels said. “We can go to locations and protect structures, but may not be able to stop the fire.”

Jeff Burns is a 20-year veteran who has fought fire in every national forest in the country. Burns, the District Forester with the Colorado State Forest Service on the Alamosa District, said, “Fuel is the only thing we can manipulate in the fire triangle of heat, fuel and oxygen.” A fire line built for containment must be dug or dozed to bare mineral soil and the width depends on the height of the fuel and flames. “This is very difficult to accomplish.”

So difficult to accomplish, that at one point there were more than 2,000 people assigned to various fire crews. “The logistics are enormous for fighting fire. You need safe camping for crews, servicing vehicles, flying aircraft, bathrooms, water for drinking, washing, dousing, three meals a day – two hot and a sack lunch – ground transportation, finance, public relations, payroll,” Gracey said.

“Safety is paramount,” Burns said.

Burns didn’t get to fight fire this summer. However, he has worked with property owners who faced this summer’s West Fork Complex Fire.

“Once in the blood, it’s hard to ignore what’s going on. You know people who are fighting the fire and you’ve helped manage defensible space with landowners,” Burns said. “I’m curious to know how it all worked.”

Of the 66 percent of the fire that was “contained” by July 17, only about 20 to 30 percent of it was constructed line.

While Daniels, who has worked on forest fires for the past 29 years, said that no two fires are the same, the West Fork Complex Fire reminds him a lot of the Yellowstone National Park fires in 1988.

“It (Yellowstone) was a moonscape,” he said. “But I was there the next year and it was already gorgeous again.

“It (Yellowstone) was a moonscape,” he said. “But I was there the next year and it was already gorgeous again. Now that the spruce is gone (in the RGNF), there will be 100 years of aspen, then spruce again. Fires are natural and normal, but our job is to keep people safe. Trees disappear, but hopefully we can keep people from disappearing in the process.”

On a flyover of the burned area the week of July 15th, Daniels saw 50 or more elk. “The grasses have started to rehabilitate themselves already.”


Continue Reading
Click to comment


Denver’s Wes Watkins dynamic new future-funk EP is from another planet




Future-Funk Party Starter | Wes Watkins

Dreams Out from Denver’s best kept secret Wes Watkins wears so many musical hats it needs a rack; downtempo G-Funk homage and sweltering nee-Soul / Rn’B are all over this release, all covered with a thicc pop glaze and a penchant for electronic-sonic experimentation that keep every song fascinatingly adventurous while maintaining a danceability and groove that easily, easily warrants multiple listens. Don’t sleep on this one.

Lo-Fuzz Folkie | Hoi Ann

The beauty of Hoi Ann’s Tangenier lies in both what you can hear and what it may want you to not hear. Lo-fi folk and bedroom-pop are easily tangible on its surface, but the buzzy electronic tones that sparingly flourish the 5 songs of this release lie low and create a unique aural atmosphere for listeners, like hidden secrets for your ears only.

Indie-Punk Sweeties | Gestalt

The pop-punk shred-bois in Gestalt are back at it again; The irresistible combo of the Get Up Kids earnest midwestern-emo and smart pop-punk wit of the Wonder Years is strong on the tracks that encompass LongBoix, as is an acute fondness and growing appreciation for the finer indie rock of yesteryear. Well I guess this is growing up.

Psych-Rock Screamcore | Gone Full Heathen

On their criminally good self titled EP, Fort Collins heavies Gone Full Heathen friggin dare you to try and trap them in a single genre. Nice try, but they’ll just chew right through your puny ropes using a gnashing blend of crushing stoner-rock laced hardcore punk and overdriven psych-rock / post-metal induced bite like the righteous rock and roll wolves that they are.

All releases available for purchase now thru Bandcamp. Go Local!

Continue Reading


The Haze Craze for Lazy Days



There are many different styles of beer. Ranging from light lagers (think Bud Light) and ales to sours, stouts, and IPAs.

Within those styles, however, are varying styles.

For example, one would think a sour beer is a sour beer, right? Wrong. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, which defines every style of beer, there are six recognized European sour styles.

For IPAs, there are seven. American beers have four; stouts have three… You get the point.

Even with viewing the list of recognized styles, it’s not a complete list.

Take New England IPAs (NE IPA), as a prime example. Many breweries are currently mass producing this style of beer, and it’s selling like crazy.

You may have heard one of your annoying beer loving friends talk about drinking a “juice bomb,” or a requesting a “hazy IPA” at the pub, and shrugged it off. It turns out, they (sometimes) know what they are talking about.

What makes NE IPAs so popular when compared to a more traditional, West Coast IPA? NE IPAs have all of the hop flavors, without an overabundance of bitterness.

Instead of constantly adding hops throughout the boil to achieve a fruity flavor balanced by bitterness, the NE IPA has a small hop addition at the begging, and then nothing else until after the boil has finished.

That translates into a beer with very little bitterness, and plenty of hop aroma and flavor. Hops like Citra, Mosaic, Mosaic, Galaxy, and El Dorado are most common in NE IPAs, according to the Homebrewers Association. Those hops tend to impart a fruity, and dare I say, juicy flavor profile.

Between the juicy flavor and the seemingly natural haziness to NE IPAs, it’s not far fetched for an NE IPA to look like a tall glass of orange or grapefruit juice, only carbonated and full of alcohol.

NE IPAs are starting to gain momentum here in Colorado, with breweries turning their focus to the haze craze. Specifically, Odd13, WeldWerks, and Epic Brewing coming to mind.

Odd13 is based in Lafayette, Colo. and has a long list of NE-inspired IPAs constantly rotating through the tap room and distributed throughout the state. Codename: Super fan and Noob are two beers that are found in cans, and both offer a different approach to the haze craze.

WeldWerks is based in Greeley, Colo. and has accumulated a cult-like following in just a few short years for its Juicy Bits NE IPA. The brewery just started self-distributing locally, so you’ll have to make the trip to the brewery and pick up a crowler or four. Be sure to check the WeldWerks Facebook page for availability and limits. Yes, they have to place per person limits on how much you can purchase.

Epic Brewing recently announced its NE IPA, which will rotate between four different flavor profiles throughout the year. The cans will look the same but will be different colors as a quick way to tell identify which version you have.

So the next time you walk into a brewery or liquor store, it’s OK to ask for a hazy or juicy IPA. It’s a thing, and, frankly, they are damn good.

On Tap: By the time this hits newsstands, ThunderZone Pizza & Taphouse will have opened on the CSU-P campus. Located at 2270 Rawlings Blvd., the ThunderZone features 32 taps, a carefully curated tap list, and is locally owned.

At the opening, the tap list includes tasty brews from the likes of Florence Brewing and Lost Highway.

Continue Reading


Senators upend GOP health care bill in true Trump style… Twitter



WASHINGTON — When Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran decided they were in ready to disrupt the GOP rewrite of the health care law, they chose President Donald Trump’s favorite medium.

They could not support Senate Republicans’ plan, the somewhat unlikely pair of conservatives tweeted at 8:30 p.m. Monday night, giving no heads up to the White House or Senate leaders before pressing send.

The story behind the statement reveals two senators willing to be branded as bill killers and seemingly unconcerned with trying to soften the blow with party leaders.

The announcement, coming after some 10 days of conversations between the men, stunned official Washington and left Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at least two votes short in the closely divided Senate from being able to move forward with the GOP bill, effectively sinking the measure. It landed shortly after Trump dined with a group of senators to discuss strategy – unwittingly plotting a plan that would immediately become outdated.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican leader, found out about Lee’s defection after the White House dinner of rosemary-grilled rib eye and summer vegetable succotash. He “had no idea it was coming,” Cornyn said.

Another Republican, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, found out from TV news.

Moran, a second-term lawmaker from Kansas who isn’t known for making waves, and Lee, a two-term senator from Utah who has clashed with Trump, have been talking over the past 10 days about the health care legislation and agreed the GOP bill did not go far enough to repeal Obamacare or address rising health-care costs. They decided to announce their position to make the bill’s fate clear and allow senators to move on, Moran said.

“It could have been prolonged for days or weeks while no one said anything,” Moran said in an interview.

Moran, who oversaw the Senate Republicans’ 2014 election campaigns, concluded last week he wouldn’t vote for the latest version of the bill but “gave myself a weekend in Kansas to think about it,” he said.

Lee had helped draft an amendment, along with fellow conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow insurers to sell skimpy plans alongside more robust ones to lower costs. Cruz agreed to some changes in wording by GOP leaders, but Lee thought the new language allowed too many Obama-era regulations to remain in place.

After talking again, Moran and Lee agreed Monday night on a statement drafted earlier in the day. They issued their statement shortly after a White House dinner attended by seven GOP senators – all likely yes votes on the health care bill. Neither Lee nor Moran attended.

A Lee spokesman said the statement – and its timing – “had nothing to do with the White House dinner. It was not a reaction in any way.”

The statement was made public as soon as it was ready, the spokesman said.

Neither Trump nor McConnell received advance warning about the statement, although it’s likely that neither the president nor the Senate leader was completely surprised.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spent the weekend calling lawmakers, including Lee and at least seven other GOP senators, according to the administration. Trump talked politics, while Pence discussed policy.

Trump called Lee on Saturday, and Lee told the president he was leaning against the bill, for the reasons he later made public.

Lee told Utah’s KSL Newsradio that he had a great conversation with Trump, when he told the president his “consumer freedom” amendment had been weakened and that he wasn’t sure that he could support the bill.

“He was encouraging to me and said, you know, ‘Just see what changes you can make to it,’ ” Lee said.

Lee and McConnell did not talk over the weekend, but Lee spoke twice to Cornyn, R-Texas, the majority whip.

Trump, who frequently takes to Twitter to announce proposals or denounce opponents, was blindsided by, of all things, a tweet.

He told reporters Tuesday he was “very surprised when the two folks came out last night, because we thought they were in fairly good shape. But they did. And, you know, everybody has their own reason.”

Moran said while he remained committed to repealing the health care law, Congress needs to make a “fresh start” on writing a replacement bill in an “open legislative process.”

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” he said, in a statement that followed the tweet.

In his own statement, Lee said the GOP bill does not repeal all the Obamacare tax increases and “doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Both explanations were issued on social media.

“Twitter is a nice medium to get your message out,” Lee’s spokesman said.

Continue Reading