Because the Denver Post is one of the larger newspapers in Elk Country (the interior West), you see different kinds of stories here than in places where neighbors are not evacuated due to wildfires. I thought the above diagram with what to do to prepare your home and yourself deserved wider circulation that just Post readers. You can read it more clearly by looking at this link and clicking on the image to make it larger.
As Jim Fenwood has suggested perhaps the whole “living with wildfire” deal needs to be rethought. But for this fire season (I was close to being evacuated, although I live in town), we are dealing with what is, and not what might be in the future.
Finally, I was working at home one weekend while the Indian Gulch fire was in back of my house. Smoke was in the air and the whirring of helicopters coming by to get water at a pond in back of the neighbor’s house. I think sometimes some people outside of our fire-prone country think there are “good people” who live in town, and “bad people” who live in the woods and who are fragmenting the landscape. Where I live the distinctions are not so clear. Plus in my hometown (Golden) many people who live in the canyons come down to restaurants, stores, or to the library. They are all members of our community. Any policy provisions to be debated need to recognize the communities as we experience them.
Here’s a photo of the Indian Gulch fire by Jeff Warner, a local photographer. Other of his photos, including more on the fire, can be found at his blog here.