How Coloradans Can Do Their Part to Prevent Wildfires As Camping Season Nears


Image via Lucas Miller

East Troublesome Wildfire clouds by Rocky Mountain National Park

Casey Cheatum, Reporter

Colorado is perhaps most well known for the beauty of its mountains and wilderness, but the natural beauty of Colorado received some nasty scars in the Summer of 2020. The Summer of 2020 saw Colorado’s worst wildfire season on record, with a staggering 13 named fires scorching the state. Additionally, the four largest wildfires in state history burned last summer, which moved the infamous 2002 “Hayman Fire” down to 5th on the list of largest recorded Wildfires in Colorado State history.

  • Cameron Peak Fire (208,663 acres) (2020)
  • East Troublesome Fire (192,560 acres) (2020)
  • Mullen Fire (176,878 acres) (2020)
  • Pine Gulch Fire (139,007 acres) (2020)
  • Hayman Fire (137,760 acres) (2002)

Colorado is no stranger to wildfires, but after a 2019 wildfire season where only one wildfire was recorded, (Decker Fire), the massive increase is a definite cause of concern for Colorado residents everywhere. Air quality across the state was predictably terrible, with smoke and ash littering the air, and turning blue skies into all sorts of nasty colors. With wildfire season around the corner, all Coloradans can hope for is a wetter summer, with plenty of rainstorms. But what can Coloradans do to help suppress the odds of these devastating fires?

Some of the ways that wildfires start are out of human-control. Wildfires can start as a result of lightning striking a tree, or in a lot of cases last summer, severe drought. Humans are very capable of starting these fires too, however. Humans have intentionally committed arson to start wildfires, or accidentally created by uncontained campfires. Humans can prevent the man-made fires by simply being responsible. Aspiring Firefighter, Chance Coupe states, “You should look out for unattended fires, and report them if needed…Never throw lit cigarettes or anything similar out of your car or onto the ground, and additionally, always make sure your fire is 100% out before leaving it as sometimes they can relight even when put out.” It’s easy to maintain forests when you keep yourself responsible with fire.

Wildfires not only effect the wilderness and wildlife, but also the people who live in mountainous areas. Carol Saine, who lives in Florissant, Colorado, has her own responsibility to keep her home safe from flammable material. Saine states, “You have to keep your property clear clear of pine needles and dead grass, and you have to keep trees away from your house.” She adds that there are people who will help with mitigation projects to ensure that residents houses are as safe as they can be. Although Saine feels comfortable with the house she bought, she worries about areas close by due to the potential for extreme drought, just like Colorado saw in many areas in 2020.

Mother nature is inevitable, and forest fires will always be a concern when lightning strikes in a forest, or when extreme drought dries up the wilderness and sparks a forest fire, but humans have every capability in the world to be able to suppress the chances of sparking a forest fire. All it takes is one uncontained campfire, one cigarette butt, or one evil act to burn thousands of acres of forest, destroy many homes, and even potentially kill innocent residents. The best way to suppress forest fires is to be responsible for your environment.