Fire and rain: Buckhorn Canyon residents feel left out of flood recovery efforts — The #FortCollins Coloradoan #PoudreRiver #SouthPlatteRiver #wildfire

A burnt sign on Larimer County Road 103 near Chambers Lake. The fire started in the area near Cameron Peak, which it is named after. The fire burned over 200,000 acres during its three-month run. Photo courtesy of Kate Stahla via the University of Northern Colorado

Click the link to read the article on the Fort Collins Coloradoan website (Miles Blumhardt). Here’s an excerpt:

Two years after the Cameron Peak Fire started Aug. 13, 2020, its aftermath continues to plague residents in the burn scar and Larimer County, emotionally and financially. The 112-day fire had a perimeter encircling nearly 209,000 acres, making it the state’s largest recorded wildfire. It destroyed more than 460 structures…Since then, flash floods over scorched mountainsides laden with millions of dead trees and tons of sediment have killed six people, damaged more homes, washed away roads and culverts, and heavily impacted water supplies for the cities of Fort Collins, Loveland and Greeley. And that has left those living in the once-idyllic mountains west of Fort Collins frustrated and questioning the recovery response.

“Fire happens once and it’s done, but the floods keep going on,’’ said Tim Fecteau, whose property in the Upper Buckhorn Canyon and home he hand-built more than 40 years ago is sandwiched between scars left by the 2012 High Park and 2020 Cameron Peak fires…

From Tim and Betsy Fecteau’s mountain getaway perched above the single-lane dirt road Boogie Woogie Way, the view across Buckhorn Canyon to Crystal and Lookout mountains was for decades a mosaic of lush aspens and pines.

Ash and silt pollute the Cache la Poudre River after the High Park Fire September 2012. Photo credit: USDA

That ended in 2020, when the Cameron Peak Fire roared across the ridgeline, claiming all but a handful of homes and charring the mountainsides as far as the eye can see. Soon thereafter and continuing until recently, rains that would have been welcomed now cast a pall because of repeated flash floods. The National Weather Service has issued 31 flash flood warnings for the Cameron Peak burn scar so far this year. Last year, it issued 36 such warnings over the entire year. The 67 flash flood warnings issued since the fire far exceeds the 39 issued the two years after the High Park Fire, which burned more than 87,000 acres, and is more than were issued in the 15 years previous to the Cameron Peak Fire.

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