LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – The High Park Fire in Larimer County left more than 87,000 acres scorched. Now a team of specialists from several fields is looking at ways to prevent problems for the environment and the public.
The assessment team looks at every aspect of the fire and how it could potentially affect resources. The biggest concern remains water.
Through the charred ground in the High Park Fire area there is a welcome sight — plant life again taking root. It’s something those involved with the interagency BAER, or Burned Area Emergency Response Team, are pleased to see.
“The purpose of Burned Area Response is not to restore the forest; it is to identify those values at risk that are at risk because of the post fire processes,” Carl Chambers with the U.S. Forest Service said.
One of the biggest risks continues to be the watershed. Greeley and Fort Collins both use water resources in the burn area to supply their respective cities. Protecting those resources from sediment and debris is now their primary concern. That’s why they’re planning on aerial mulching some of the affected areas.
Part of the BAER assessment includes Highway 14. The Colorado Department of Transportation is now looking at ways to protect the very important roadway through Colorado.
Just last week a mudslide came close to covering the highway. Now CDOT is looking at ways to prevent any damage. CDOT’s plan includes rock scaling and possibly installing larger culverts that can withstand higher and harder water flows from the mountains.
“What we’re trying to do is make sure the driving public is safe,” Scott Ellis with CDOT said.
The BAER assessment identified about $24 million worth of potential emergency stabilization treatments. Some of that money could come from federal funding.
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