People sometimes tell me that the U.S. Forest Service isn't aggressive enough in fighting fires. As a wildland fire professional with more than 30 years of experience, I disagree. Historically, wildland fire shaped the American landscape.
On a recent stroll across sage-brush-covered hills northeast of the Gunnison, we saw a sage grouse peak around a shrub before taking flight. Over the next rise, a lone female pronghorn antelope darted from the drainage bottom to the far ridge.
I’m writing this on the morning of July 3. Most of you won’t read it until the mail delivers your newspaper July 5, or later. So by then my prediction may have been proven terribly wrong, but I’m going to make it anyway.
I live in western Colorado, which is “Trump Country.” My community — which overwhelmingly voted for Trump by a 3:1 ratio — strongly resembles many of the other rural, working-class, predominantly-white communities that carried President Donald Trump to Pennsylvania Avenue in 2016.
Driving into Lake City last Saturday afternoon looked apocalyptic. We didn’t know the Durango-area “416 Fire” had blown up that day and that the winds had pushed the fallout from the inferno up and over the Continental Divide and right down into the Upper Lake Fork Valley.