Wildfire experts discuss prevention efforts by analyzing previous fires

Local News

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – (KREX) Colorado is no stranger of the impacts wildfires have on the state. In 2020, the Cameron Peak Fire and Pine Gulch Fire set the standard for some of the most destructive disasters.

After a year with Colorado’s three largest wildfires in history, fire experts are doing their best to prepare for future wildfires. “We need as a region and across the west more work on pre-fire mitigation so thinning, prescribed burns things like that so that we can actually prevent some of these devastating wildfires that we have seen,” Jennifer Petrzelka, Water Resources operations manager said.

Mulching is one method of fire recovery that helps provide moisture and stability to burn scars. “We have learned that mulching is the most effective widespread mitigation technique, the more of that, that we can do the better,” Petrzelka said.

Mulching has proven to be effective in helping fire recovery acts, and has other fire experts looking to local companies like Aspen Wood Products to prevent future wildfires. “Our products are specifically designed to help prevent those massive erosion events or help at least reduce when they do happen, the big rains,” David Sitton, Aspen Wood Products said.

Every fire is a little different. depending on how intensely it burns and what kind of terrain it burns in can affect which fire mitigation techniques can be used. The Grizzly Creek burn scar for example rests on an extremely high slope, making mulching ineffective. “We did some evaluations early, would receding, would mulching work or help and in most areas and we determined that it wouldn’t on this particular fire, the Grizzly Creek,” David Boyd, White River National Forrest public affairs said.

Now that mulching is out of the picture, Grizzly Creek burn scar experts have conducted a preliminary debris flow prediction model to best prepare for future mudslides.

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