LARIMER COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – In 2020 Colorado was crippled with a historic wildfire season, dominated by the East Troublesome (193,812 acres), Calwood (10,106 acres), Grizzly Creek (32,631 acres), Mullen (176,878 acres), Pine Gulch (139,007 acres), and the Cameron Peak fires (208,913 acres). The largest fire in Colorado’s recorded history, the Cameron Peak Fire, burned for months and became the first fire in the state’s history to burn more than 200,000 acres.

(credit: CBS)

The historic blaze which burned in Larimer County claimed more than 500 structures, many of which were everyday homes.

Firefighters from across the country were deployed to Colorado to help battle the fire, many of which were having to find ways to battle the fire without contracting or spreading the COVID-19 pandemic.

Though the fire was historic in size and impacted hundreds of families directly, many throughout Larimer County say the lasting impacts of the fire in the years to follow the blaze are arguably just as concerning.

In a CBS4 Special Report, “SCARRED: Lessons from the Cameron Peak Fire,” CBS4’s Dillon Thomas unveils how the Cameron Peak Fire continues to have a ripple effect through 2021.

Thomas gained access to many parts of the Cameron Peak Fire burn scar never-before shown to the public.

From destroyed trail systems crippled by toppled trees to the impacts the fire continues to have on the drinking water millions rely on, CBS4’s special report featured how Coloradan’s are still navigating the troubles of the largest fire on record.

Businesses which rely on the Poudre and Big Thompson rivers shared their stories on how historic, and fatal, flooding in 2021 was tied to the Cameron Peak Fire, and how those floods impacted their ability to provide for their staff.

National Forest Lands and National Parks were impacted by the fire as well, “SCARRED” took viewers inside closed-off lands, and visited with park employees who have worked to mitigate fires as we saw.

Cities and researchers gave exclusive access to their studies and facilities, showing how ash-filled waters have proven costly for the region, both monetarily and not.

And, in a report only seen on CBS4, Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff show how the historic fire has caused thousands of fish to be killed in the year since the blaze.

“SCARRED: Lessons from the Cameron Peak Fire” aired exclusively on CBS4 Denver and CBSN Denver.

The 30 minute documentary was shot and produced throughout the summer of 2021. CBS4 traveled hundreds of miles and hiked many to give CBS4 viewers a look into the lasting impacts of the Cameron Peak Fire, highlighting the lessons that could be learned from the blaze.

As one researcher said, when it comes to the impacts the fire will have in the years to come, “This is just the beginning.”

Dillon Thomas