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Release Date: 07/09/12
Contacts: Chris Barth, Public Information Officer    
  Montrose Interagency Fire Management Unit    
  Phone: 970.240.5317 (o)    

Ten Years After the Burn Canyon Fire (07-09-12)

Montrose, Colo. – As wildfires across Colorado continue to make headlines and leave a lasting impact on the communities they affect, fire managers on the Western Slope remember the impacts from the Burn Canyon Fire. Monday, July 9th marks the ten year anniversary of the Burn Canyon Fire which burned for several weeks south of Norwood, Colo. and consumed nearly 32,000 acres of public and private land.

As communities throughout Colorado and the West begin to think about recovering from recent wildfires, the Burn Canyon Fire provides some insight and lessons for the recovery of natural landscapes. The Burn Canyon rehabilitation efforts have been the focus of a long-term study led by the Burn Canyon Community Monitoring Project representing scientists and citizens alike. The latest conclusions from the study – released in October 2011 – demonstrate that the rehabilitation efforts have been successful at recovering from the effects of the fire. Rehabilitation across the fire area has been a multi-year effort and has included seeding, planting trees, mulching, cleaning irrigation ditches and ponds, construction of sediment traps, rebuilding fence, and cultural resource protection measures. Results of the long-term study indicate that many of the initial fears were never realized, and that the landscape has improved from both an aesthetic and habitat perspective.

Since the Burn Canyon Fire, and the many other wildfires of 2002, there has been an increase in wildfire risk reduction efforts across the region. Community Wildfire Protection Plans (CWPPs) have been developed for nearly all counties in Colorado which outline specific projects to better prepare communities for future wildfires. Several grants are available to homeowners to assist them with wildfire mitigation projects. For information about grant programs to reduce wildfire risk in Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray and San Miguel Counties visit

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  2465 South Townsend Avenue      Montrose, CO 81401  

Last updated: 07-09-2012