The Hayman Fire
Colorado 2002

hese pictures are representative of the fire (Colorado's biggest forest fire). I took them from my car window along the South Platte River for a distance of about ten miles going toward Deckers.

What is interesting to me is the spotty-ness of the fire. It made no sense to me that this or that tree would remain undamaged while all those around it were destroyed. Amidst some of the total burnout areas were pine trees that had retained all their needles but turned a light brown. In other areas it looked like you could just put down a picnic lunch by a stream and watch the fire swirl all round about without the least care of getting burned. My brother assured me that the temperature would have been oven-like however.

I imagined that the appearance would have been totally black ground, black stumps and black, soot-laden roads. This was not the case. Though there were areas of totality, the overall impression was of extremely spotty, jumping from here to there with no rhyme or reason (probably due to the changeable, high winds 85 mph one day). Quite unexpected.

So, when they say 125,000 acres burned, they mean about 60-70% in that area was destroyed. The rest is green and undamaged or partially damaged. The totality of devastation appeared to be correlated to the density of trees, i.e. greater density meant greater probability of a total moonscape-type result.

Now the big worry is flash flood due to the fast runoff from the forest floor which appears to be kind of glazed over (though I didn't get to check it out as you are not officially allowed to get out of the car).

haymn1.jpg - 63kb

haymn10.jpg - 76kb

haymn11.jpg - 38kb

haymn2.jpg - 52kb

haymn5.jpg - 76kb

haymn6.jpg - 67kb

haymn7.jpg - 101kb

haymn8.jpg - 62kb

haymn9.jpg - 53kb

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