In early September, embers from a fire pit in Fourmile Canyon, in the foothills outside Boulder, Colo., likely ignited the most destructive wildfire in state history. Nearly 170 homes were lost across some 6,400 acres, resulting in an estimated $217 million in damages.
The fire was dramatic, but not unexpected. Boulder County's wildland-urban interface is the most densely populated in Colorado, and 10th in the West. After the 1989 Black Tiger Fire, which consumed 44 homes, the county began implementing some of the most progressive wildlife mitigation measures in the West, including building codes requiring homeowners in the mountains to build with less flammable materials and clear vegetation around their property. But when a wildfire is moving as hot and fast as the Fourmile fire did, all bets are off.
In this episode of High Country Views, Kale Casey talks with HCN assistant editor Cally Carswell about working the Fourmile blaze as a paramedic, and Boulder County Wildfire Mitigation coordinator Eric Philips discusses how well mitigation worked and where wildfire management in the county goes from here.