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Post-fire efforts move past emergency

Posted: Wednesday, Sep 11th, 2013

The name Fireweed derives from the species’ abundance as a colonizer on burnt sites after forest fires. Its tendency to quickly colonize open areas with little competition, such as sites of forest fires and forest clearings, makes it a clear example of a pioneer species. Courtesy photo by Heather Dutton

Courier staff writer

SOUTH FORK — Few immediate West Fork Complex Fire (WFCF) repercussions are resulting in a shift from emergency preparedness to land mitigation and treatments for the Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Coordination Team (RWEACT).

On Tuesday, RWEACT – a grassroots group working to protect the Rio Grande Watershed and its many valued assets in the wake of the WFCF ??– reported the majority of seasonal threats are now minimal, and areas falling victim to debris runoff and flash floods are identified, setting the stage for the next phase.

So far, RWEACT’s plans have gone accordingly and on schedule, having said goodbye to the Doppler station placed on the top of Bristol Head, said RWEACT Coordinator Tom Spezze yesterday morning. The radar, which cost $68,749 for 40-days, tracked potentially flash flood causing storms headed toward the Rio Grande National Forest (RGNF), providing vital warning information to residents in real time, and a window to avoid high waters and falling debris.

It could have been retained for a longer period of time, but it would not have been cost effective, he said.

“We are pleased as we could be with the result,” Spezze said about the data collected and the overall learning experience.

This was the first time such data had made its way to the Valley, and the information it provided for RWEACT and the National Weather Service will someday be compared with the radar station data from Conejos County in the near future.

For the complete article see the 09-11-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 09-11-2013 paper.

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