DECKERS, Colo. (CBS4) – The massive Hayman wildfire started 10 years ago on Friday. It was the largest fire is Colorado history and the recovery efforts in the burn area are still going on.
The fire raged for 20 days, scorching more than 130,000 acres. It took a vibrant forest and left behind a lunar wasteland of charcoal and ash. What’s left now is a dusty landscape — brown where it should be green.
“When the trees die all that water is available for runoff,” hydrologist Dave Rosgen said.
The Forest Service and an army of volunteers have been working to fix the runoff problem by digging holes and planting trees, trying to bring the area back to normal.
“It is our mission to do anything we can to help restore and protect our national forests,” said Rob Katz, Vail Resorts CEO.
“We get 50 percent of our water supply out of the South Platte drainage,” Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan said.
PHOTO GALLERY: Hayman Fire
The water is taking the land with it. It’s a significant problem for the burn area. Engineers are hoping that using large boulders will help hold the land together and keep more land from moving downhill.
“We’re two hours away, but we might as well be right here,” Hogan said.
The work could take five years to finish but the initial effects could be seen by the end of this summer.
“When things like this happen it’s critical that we jump in and help,” Hogan said.
This year is already about as dry as it was the year of the Hayman fire.
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