Forest fire aftermath

Title Info
Common name Pine, Ponderosa
Scientific name Pinus ponderosa
Taxonomic group Pinaceae
Source Dan L. Perlman
Ecosystems Forests
Forests Temperate coniferous forest
Change over time Disturbance
Disturbance Fire ecology
Lessons Disturbance
Date July 09, 2000
Location Pine,Colorado,USA,North America

Aftermath of the Hi Meadow fire, Colorado. Due to very active fire fighting, the nearby ridge was only lightly burned, although the ridge in the middle distance was totally incinerated. The furthest ridge, on the left side of the image, was largely unburned.

The Hi Meadow fire burned nearly 11,000 acres (17 square miles or 44 square km) of Ponderosa pine forests, which, under natural conditions experience frequent low-intensity fires. However, like much of the US West, decades of fire suppression had allowed fuel loads of dead branches and undergrowth to build to dangerous levels, and this fire was hot, intense, and fast moving. The fire lasted about ten days in mid-June, 2000, destroyed 51 houses, and cost approximately $8 million in suppression and rehabilitation plus another $5-10 million in property loss, according to the US Forest Service. A single cigarette was determined to be the cause of the fire (investigators actually found the cigarette butt after the fire).