About the Fire
At approximately noon on Saturday, June 23rd, 2012, the Waldo Canyon Fire was ignited. By July 18th, local firefighting operations had contained the wildfire at 18,247 acres. Though smaller in acreage than the Hayman Fire of 2002, the Waldo Canyon Fire was one of the most destructive fire to the people of Colorado in recent history, killing two people, burning 346 homes, and forcing the evacuation of over 32,000 people. The losses felt by those affected by the wildfire are longstanding, but will ultimately fall short of the strength gained as a community through our restoration efforts. Of the total acres burned in the fire, 14,422 acres were National Forest land, 3,678 acres were private land, and 147 acres were Department of Defense land. These lands spanned five major watersheds within the Pike National Forest, including those of Headwater Fountain Creek, Cascade Creek-Fountain Creek, Garden of the Gods, West Monument Creek, and Lower Monument Creek.
Due to the location of ignition and local weather reports showing no lightning in the area on the 23rd, the fire is assumed to be human-caused. The exact cause, however, is still under investigation.
BAER (Burned Area Emergency Response)
Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) is the risk management program that serves as a systematic response to wildfires nationwide, and is carried out by local fire agencies. The purpose of BAER is “to identify imminent post-wildfire threats to human life and safety, property and critical natural or cultural resources and take immediate actions to manage unacceptable risks.” BAER often begins during a wildfire, as was the case with the Waldo Canyon Fire, and continues until the burned area is restored. The BAER program is organized by the following responses.
Planned actions taken within one year of containment to stabilize and prevent unacceptable degradation to natural and cultural resources, to minimize threats to life or property resulting from the effects of a fire, or to repair/replace/construct physical improvements necessary to prevent degradation of land or resources.