Radar Project Request for Proposals Released

ALAMOSA, CO., (August 2, 2018):   Better radar will soon be possible in our region for timely and more accurate weather information and stream forecasting.  Following the West Fork Complex fire, temporary weather radar was installed in the Upper Rio Grande and Wolf Creek Pass for three years to monitor conditions.  A NOAA mobile radar was rented for two winters to collect data for water supply modeling for the Rio Grande and Conejos Rivers. 

The benefits of radar include improved public safety with severe weather forecasting for early notifications, more accurate water resource modeling for water rights and administration, and transportation needs such as aviation, storm tracking, and avalanche forecasting.     

This multi-agency project brings together the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Alamosa County, Rio Grande Water Conservation District, San Luis Valley Water Conservancy, Conejos Water Conservancy District, Rio Grande and Conejos Water Users Association, San Luis Valley Irrigation District, Colorado Division of Water Resources, and other counties and agencies within the region. 

Funding for the $1 million to $1.3 million project comes from the CWCB Projects Bill, CDOT, an Executive Order through RWEACT, and the Capital Development Committee.   The radar will be located at the Alamosa County airport.  Bids are due September 5th

RWEACT -- together with the Rio Grande National Forest and funded through the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the Department of Local Affairs, and the Office of Emergency Management – works to promote partnerships and actions that provide for public safety and resiliency of communities and watersheds of the Rio Grande Basin of Colorado. 

September 7 & 8 Fw: Bridging the Divide

September 7 & 8 Fw: Bridging the Divide


Laurel Sebastian

Mountain Studies Institute

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Join local forest and fire experts to learn about wildland fire management, explore the impacts and recovery from the West Fork and Million Fires, and understand how to protect your home from future fires. An evening of free food, beer and presentations on September 7 will be followed by a full day tour on September 8 of areas effected by two of the largest fires in Colorado history.

Pagosa Springs, CO –  In 2002, the Million Fire burned 9,346 acres near South Fork, CO, costing over $9.8 million. In 2013, the same area was struck by the West Fork Fire Complex, which burned over 109,049 acres of the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests and cost over $31 million. Five and 16 years later, we are bringing together communities, land managers and scientists from both sides of the Continental Divide to reflect on the Million and West Fork fires, discuss recovery from fires, and think about the future of our communities and forests.

Mountain Studies Institute, San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership, Firewise of Southwest Colorado, Southern Rockies Fire Science Network, Colorado State Forest Service, Wolf Creek Ski Area and the Rio Grande and San Juan National Forests are offering communities affected by historic and recent fires an opportunity to discuss, reflect and learn about forests and fire dynamics. Join us from 5:00 – 8:00 pm on September 7 for FREE FOOD, BEER and conversation sponsored by local breweries (Pagosa Brewing and Three Barrel), and the Wolf Creek Ski Area.

On September 8, from 9:00am to 3:00pm, there will be an opportunity to tour the burn areas with resource specialists, emergency responders, community members and land managers. We will meet at the South Fork Visitor Center, organize into vans, and drive to diverse burn areas to talk about everything from water and wildlife impacts, to home protection strategies, to economic impacts and fire dynamics. Lunch will be provided by the San Juan Headwaters Forest Health Partnership and Firewise of Southwest Colorado. Wear appropriate shoes, bring water, and be prepared for weather.

Although FREE, registration is required for both events so that we can make sure to have enough food. Find the full agenda and register at mountainstudies.org/events/bridgingthedivide.

To watch a video series on the West Fork Fire Complex created by the Southern Rockies Fire Science Network, go here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOlnrjuc1WQ&list=PLCT5u82jYZ5wgFPeOZeioE75fRRCNkVXu

Bev Chapman Documentary Viewing: Five Years After

Looking for good in the ashes of the West Fork Complex Fire

A documentary by Bev Chapman

Free Viewings held in Creede and Lake City. The video screening will be followed by light snacks and a question/answer conversation.

This month is the five year anniversary of the West Fork Complex fire in our region. Please join us in celebration, finding out what work has been done, and how we are better prepared for our next event.  Videographer Bev Chapman created the Big Burn video during our 2013 event. Come and see this new documentary featuring Five Years After information.

Five Years After the Burn Movie

Park Creek Fire - South Fork, Colorado

For up-to-the-minute updates, please visit https://www.facebook.com/USFSRGNF/

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Five Actions for Today to Prepare for Wildfire Season

LAKE CITY, CO., (May 25, 2018):  With our current forest conditions, please consider taking action immediately to prepare for wildfire season.  

1)    Keep track of any fire restrictions in your County or in any area you are traveling to (especially as it relates to outdoor recreational activities).  A Red Flag Warning is a forecast warning issued by the National Weather Service that conditions are perfect for wildland fire combustion, and rapid spread of a wildfire if one does start.  Stage 1 Fire Restrictions limit open fires, trash and agricultural burning, fireworks or explosives, and limit where cigarette smoking is allowed.  

2)    Take photographs of every room in your home to provide documentation for your home insurance carrier.  Email off these photographs to your agent.  

3)    Create a wildfire emergency evacuation kit.  Gather as many of these items as you can ahead of time and place them in an easy-to-identify bag or box in your home.  For those items you can’t pack ahead of time, consider putting a “Other Items to Take” list to post on the refrigerator so you do not have to think through what to take when a pre-evacuation or evacuation notice is issued.  Suggested items include:  3 days-worth of non-perishable food and 3 gallons of water per person; at least two days of change of clothing; extra eyeglasses or contact lenses; prescription medicine along with a printed copy of the prescription; extra car keys, credit cards, cash or checks; a first aid kit and flashlight; battery-powered radio and extra batteries; personal toiletry supplies; copies of important documents; pet food and water; cell phones and charges; and computer hard-drives.  If time allows, you may want to take easily carried valuables and family photographs (it may be helpful to scan and store off-site family photographs and documents).     

4)    Determine where you will evacuate to – in multiple directions if necessary – and communicate your plans to one out-of-area family member or friend.  Make sure your entire household and family and friends know who this one person is that you will be communicating with and write down this telephone number (don’t rely on cell phone contact information as cell phone services are often down or overloaded during an event).  Talk with your household and neighbors about what should happen during an evacuation.  Sign up for the local reverse 911 notifications (different counties use different systems).  Check your County’s website.  

5)    Find out how to improve the defensible space around your forested home and neighborhood and either do the work or hire a local contractor https://csfs.colostate.edu/wildfire-mitigation/

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