USA–– COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) – The most destructive wildfire in Colorado history leveled hundreds of homes but didn’t touch a cherished tradition in Pike National Forest near Colorado Springs – cutting live Christmas trees.
The U.S. Forest Service says last summer’s Waldo Canyon Fire didn’t touch the area of the forest where generations have gone to cut live Christmas trees.
Each year, about 5,000 people buy $10 permits to cut a tree. Christmas tree seekers can choose from lodgepole, limber and ponderosa pine as well as Engelmann spruce and Douglas fir. Chain saws are not allowed.
Permits can be obtained from Nov. 26 to Dec. 12.
Families are limited to five trees. The Waldo Canyon Fire erupted June 23 and went on to kill two people and damage or destroy 359 homes. The failure was in the forest areas.Advertisement
Following a 10-year strategy, ACT fire managers have created a mosaic across the landscape of different fuel levels, burning at every opportunity.
But forests have been too wet to burn this spring and the past two summers.
A network of 500 fire trails and strategic burns along the north-west urban edge, heavy grazing and extra grass slashing will create a fortress for the territory which forecasters say faces a higher than average risk this summer.
After a fire-fuelled tornado in January 2003 killed four Canberrans and frightened thousands more, CSIRO fire expert Phil Cheney told the subsequent inquiry the fire’s penetration into urban areas under extreme conditions did not reflect a failure of fuel management on the urban interface.