Excellent news for those of us who aren't in defense and can't find good jobs in Colorado Springs! Bustang is useful, but can't get you everywhere in Denver. Colorado Springs was bound to become a bedroom community for Denver soon anyway, given the economic activity there is an order of magnitude greater. For every new restaurant, new office or apartment building in Colorado Springs, there are 10 in Denver.
Couldn't they just do a brewery or a coffee shop instead?
It's Btk. Notice in the maps, the city doesn't seem to be spraying in the Bear Creek drainage. The federal fish and wildlife service asked them not to, as it would potentially kill any insects that our last remaining Greenback Cutthroats might feed on.
I'm skeptical this treatment will work in the long run and that it is even necessary. Trees and insects have been doing this for thousands of years, and they're both still around. And science has shown that live trees are a greater fire danger than dead ones.
The area is full of deer. On a hike last night on the Mesa Trail, I counted around 20 that were right out in the open. It's true, the private land owned by the Garden of the Gods club is getting trashed by dumping, high school kids making out, off-road vehicle drivers, and random campers. I ran into some people from New Mexico who have been camped out there for a week already. That aside, it's time we citizens start organizing to get the land west of the Centennial extension purchased by TOPS funds. Clean up the trash and re-vegetate the dirt tracks, and we have a fantastic addition to the city's open spaces. These are gorgeous scrub oak foothills (lush for Colorado), with high grass, a perennial creek, deep ravines and rolling hills, majestic cottonwoods, a riparian area full of hardwood trees, and excellent deer habitat. It has multiple access points, but it will need a real caretaker. The current land owners are just sitting on these properties (and hoping to develop them!) If successfully acquired, the open space could be larger than Sondermann park with even better trails. TOSC, let's get on this and make it happen!
In Trump's America, there are only two leadership styles, the strongman autocratic bully, and the weak and indecisive people-pleaser. Let's all be grateful that many businesses and really most thinking people reject this false choice.
It's too bad, this could have been a great bison range, one of the last potential large ones in the state. While some may say, it was annexed, so no way could it have been preserved, it seems to me it could have been de-annexed just as easily, had the right buyer come along.
Meanwhile, south and central Academy Blvd struggle, and we have to ask, will Powers lose momentum once new businesses to the east cannibalize those to the west? Without new jobs that enable people to afford houses, it's unclear how successful BLR development will be. Doug Lamborn does his best to get new government jobs here, but strangely, the presence of good defense jobs seems to stymie the development of a really solid tech center here. Most talent I know that can't get into or isn't interested in defense eventually moves north.
While it may seem logical at first, in fact, dead trees are not more fire prone. If you're splitting logs for a fire place, sure, dried wood will burn better. But in a forest fire, it's the needles and branches (in our pines, spruces and firs) that readily burn.
The environmental conditions for a fire need to be right - hot, dry, windy weather, and then, it's the live trees that are more likely to burn and spread fire.
From a NASA study "The results may seem at first counterintuitive, but make sense when considered more carefully. First, while green needles on trees appear to be more lush and harder to burn, they contain high levels very flammable volatile oils. When the needles die, those flammable oils begin to break down. As a result, depending on the weather conditions, dead needles may not be more likely to catch and sustain a fire than live needles.
Second, when beetles kill a lodgepole pine tree, the needles begin to fall off and decompose on the forest floor relatively quickly. In a sense, the beetles are thinning the forest, and the naked trees left behind are essentially akin to large fire logs. However, just as you can't start a fire in a fireplace with just large logs and no kindling, wildfires are less likely to ignite and carry in a forest of dead tree trunks and low needle litter. "
("NASA Satellites Reveal Surprising Connection Between Beetle Attacks, Wildfire", 2010)
In Southern California's San Bernardino mountains, researchers found that "The hypothesis that forests are more likely to burn severely if they’ve had recent tree mortality from drought and insects had never been tested with real data. The Forest Service, the timber industry, and the media had simply presumed that the standing dead trees provide the fuel that leads to higher-severity fires. We used real data and found no evidence to support this presumption. Wind, moisture, air temperature, and other climactic factors, not fuels, are likely determining fire severity in Southern California.”
("Influence of Pre-Fire Tree Mortality on Fire Severity in Conifer Forests of
the San Bernardino Mountains, California" , 2009)
Spraying these trees to save them is adding fuel to the fire. Instead, the Broadmoor, the County and the City should pony up and thin these trees. It's too late and too dangerous for a controlled burn. Spraying will keep thin, spindly trees with needles and branches close to the ground alive, and ready fuel for a fire when the next time the conditions are right. Dennis Will is correct. These forest parcels need to be thinned with. The Forest Service is also correct, the moths will kill many trees and thin the forest, making it less fire prone.
Will Phil Anschutz and Steve Bartolin pay the bills when the fire comes?
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