This is the Hewlett Gulch Trail, in the Poudre Canyon area, on Friday, July 20, 2012, near Fort Collins, Colorado. It was the start point of the Hewlett Gulch Fire on May 14. This mountain ridge saddle had a scenic view of the Roosevelt National Forest. It is also tinder dry and at a place where the slopes tend to funnel wind through this low point. The blackened areas clearly show the spread of the fire influenced by wind, terrain and available fuel. At its peak more than 400 firefighters were battling fires pushed by 50 mph winds. When the last embers were cooled, more than 12-square miles lay blacked at a cost of approximately 3.2 million dollars to fight. The aerial distribution of straw has successfully kept the Seaman Reservoir, drinking water resource for the City of Greeley, clean and clear. Forest Service lands receive straw, while private and other lands receive a seed mix and straw to promote ground cover plant growth on ash-covered lands. In total, 1,800 tons of straw will be applied during the 14-day operation. One quarter of the cost was paid by the City of Greeley and the U.S. Department of Agriculture funded the remainder. Unmitigated areas have turned famous Colorado clear water to nearly black flows of water heavily laden with ash, silt, and burnt debris that recent thunderstorms have already washed down from the mountainsides. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.
May 7, 2014
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