Waldo Canyon Fire

“Things get bad for all of us, almost continually, and what we do under the constant stress reveals who/what we are.” In his posthumous collection, What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire, poet Charles Bukowski encapsulated an all too familiar manifesto for growing old.

What nearly kills us strengthens us. What we lose brings into clear focus what we have. Clichés for living through the middle distance that, like all clichés, have become worn and ubiquitous because they are true.

Waldo Canyon restoration continues this weekend on Saturday with an effort from Volunteers For Outdoor Colorado. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

The project looks to help protect nearby water supplies, infrastructure, and Highway 24, by working on a number of erosion control issues, including dead tree removal, sandbagging, and reseeding grass and trees.

Volunteer for Outdoor Colorado spokeswoman Jessica Von Duerring says it’s part of an ongoing effort to help restore the burn scar.

Impacts from rains like Wednesday’s downpour in El Paso County are lessened due to mitigation work that’s taken place.  KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.
 

Williams Canyon is getting new rain-monitoring equipment from the Colorado Department of Transportation and the US Geological Survey. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports on the installations taking place this week.
 

The new equipment looks to complement the devices installed in Waldo Canyon last year, and are intended to allow CDOT to see the progression of floods as they move toward Highway 24. The new gear includes a real time video feed camera, a remote radar gauge, and an additional rain gauge.

Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association

Next Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary since the start of the massive Black Forest Fire. The blaze scorched over 14,000 acres, destroyed around 500 homes and killed two people.

The non-profit Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association says after revised estimates of loss, the fire is now the second-costliest wildfire in state history.

RMIAA director Carole Walker says the initial estimate of $292 million has been increased to $420 million dollars in losses. 

A Sense of Place, Episode 4: The Fire Isn't Over

Jun 4, 2014
Sarah Stockdale

“The fire isn’t over until restoration is complete” is a catch-phrase that has been floating around Colorado Springs ever since our two most recent fires in 2012 and 2013. But what exactly is “restoration”? When will it be complete? And what is our role in the fight to mitigate future fires? In this episode of “A Sense of Place,” producer Sarah Stockdale takes us on a journey up highway 24 to the Waldo Canyon burn scar, to speak with Theresa Springer of the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, and Eric Perramond, associate professor of Southwest Studies at Colorado College.

U.S. Forest Service

Forest Service land closed due to the Waldo Canyon Fire will remain restricted for some time. KRCC’s Tucker Hampson reports.

The US Forest Service has extended closure orders, saying the canyon requires more maintenance and time to re-grow. The area to remain closed includes the Waldo Canyon Trail along Highway 24. Work there is expected to continue through the summer. There is a maximum 5,000 dollar fine in place for trespassing in the closed areas.

Bryan Oller

Last week, I interviewed Manitou Mayor Marc Snyder and KRCC News Director Andrea Chalfin about mitigation efforts related to the Waldo Canyon burn scar flooding. In this second part of the interview, I speak to Snyder about cleanup efforts and plans for next summer. Tune in tomorrow to hear the final part of the conversation about the future of Recreational Marijuana in Manitou Springs.

Andrea Chalfin


Efforts continue all across the Waldo Canyon burn scar to help reduce the effects of flooding.  Colorado Springs Utilities expects to wrap up initial work in the Northfield Watershed on Rampart Range within the next month or so.  But Project Manager Kim Gortz with Utilities says it’s really an ongoing effort.

"Hayman’s still seeing issues 10 years post-fire, so I think we’re starting in our planning phase as far as what do we do for long-term restoration, what do we do for monitoring each time we have a monsoon season."

Bryan Oller

Local Freelance Photojournalist Bryan Oller took some of the most memorable photos of the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires, and he’s been covering the flooding in Manitou. I spoke with him about the challenges of documenting disasters so close to home.

Flood Survivor Tells Harrowing Tale

Aug 14, 2013
Liz Ruskin

While Manitou Springs authorities celebrated finding one survivor, another Manitou flood victim, 49-year-old Laura Hunter, told reporters Monday at Penrose Hospital she’s thrilled to be alive. KRCC’s Liz Ruskin reports.

Hunter was in her small cottage in the 500 block of Canon Ave. when water started quickly pouring into her living room.

Andrea Chalfin

Flash flood watches and warnings peppered the weekend in the Pikes Peak region, with skies darkening ominously as thunder and rain rolled in each afternoon.  Last night’s warning was canceled early, and Highway 24 and Manitou Springs were spared a repeat of Friday’s devastating flooding.

Jane Turnis

Update: 11:20PM:  The El Paso County Sheriff's Office is reporting the body of an adult man has been found along Highway 24 near mile marker 297.  They report the body was buried under a significant amount of debris along the westbound lanes of the highway.  No identification is available at this time.   

10:25 PM:  Highway 24 is now reopened, with one lane in each direction.  

Sandbags will be available to homeowners facing impacts from potential flash flooding in and near the Waldo Canyon burn scar.  They'll be given away free at the Verizon Wireless building on Garden of the Gods Road from 8 - 2 Saturday. The sand comes from last week's Olympic Downtown Celebration and its sand volleyball pit.

Colorado Springs and El Paso County officials have released updated flood maps for areas in and near the Waldo Canyon burn scar.  The maps detail expected flood effects after one-hour rainfall amounts of a half-inch up to two inches of rain.  The assessments assumed debris in floodwaters would cause blockages at street crossings.  Maps include Ute Pass, Manitou Springs, and Fountain Creek.  Douglas Creek maps have not yet been updated.  There’s a preparedness meeting tonight at six for residents and businesses along Fountain Creek at Al Kaly Shrine.

Forecasters say the storm over the Waldo Canyon burn scar yesterday that produced flash flooding through Williams Canyon was quick-moving and dropped six-tenths of an inch of rain in about 15 minutes. KRCC’s Andrea Chalfin has more.

Manitou Springs city officials were quick to praise education efforts and first-responder cooperation, but Police Chief Joe Ribeiro acknowledged the city’s warning siren didn’t work correctly.

Wildfires and Climate Change Perception

Jun 28, 2013

Though wildfires have been definitively connected to climate change, megafires in the West haven’t shifted public opinion as drastically as environmentalists might hope.

 

Researchers have found that repeated wildfires in the same region do tend to shift public opinion about climate change, so with back to back summers of megafires the Pikes Peak region may see greater interest in the effects of increased warming.

The Double Bind: Forest Treatment In The Age of Megafires

Jun 27, 2013

The devastating 2002 wildfire season generated public discussion about the need for treatments to fix our dangerously overgrown forests. A decade later, the Front Range has been hit with consecutive record-setting fire seasons, which has a lot of Colorado residents wondering why more of that treatment hasn’t happened. In this story that originally aired in April, KRCC’s Michelle Mercer looks into the status of forest treatment on the Front Range. 

Waldo Canyon Fire Victims: Recovering without Rebuilding

Jun 25, 2013

The Black Forest Fire destroyed over 500 homes, leaving those homeowners with a difficult decision: should they rebuild? Back in April, KRCC’s Michelle Mercer talked to some Waldo Canyon Fire victims about the tough choices they’ve made.

Since this piece aired in April, rebuilding permits have trickled in: now 198 permits have been issued, or about 57% of the Waldo Canyon Fire victims.

• Main Flash Point: Living with Wildfire page with an interactive timeline.