Restoring High Park Fire Burn Area

On June 9, 2012, Northern Colorado experienced the third-largest fire in recorded Colorado history by area burned.  Burning over  87,284 acres of pristine forest on private and public lands, the fire burned intensely until it was declared 100 percent contained on June 30, 2012.

View from Horsetooth Reservoir

View from Horsetooth Reservoir

The headquarters of The Landscape Doctor Inc sit at the mouth of the Poudre Canyon. On the morning the fire started, we could see the initially small plume of smoke just over the ridge as we sat on our back patio and enjoyed the Colorado weather.  We had just relocated our offices and shop to this new piece of property at the foot of the rolling hills along the Poudre Canyon.  We stayed up all night and watched as the glow moved North behind the ridge, then back South again and at about 4am we saw the fire crest the ridge. Trees were going up like match sticks and we knew it was getting much worse by the minute.

First Winter after Fire

First Winter after Fire

Eventually we evacuated and came home to a portion of our 5 acres burnt heavily and black hills as far as we could see to the South. Our neighbors and all of us here were very lucky and owe a debt to the great efforts by the fire fighters as only one home was lost in our area. Many people were not so lucky.  The fire consumed more than 259 homes in all. One of which belonged to a dear friend of ours, Larry Lewis. His mountain cabin was in the heavily hit area of Whale Rock Road up Rist Canyon.  A cabin that he built in the 70’s was completely lost to the fire, as were many of his neighbor’s homes.  Nearly every tree in sight was burnt into a black skeleton.

Remains of Cabin

Remains of Cabin

Restoration and rebuilding has been going on in earnest since that fateful summer.  We are pleased to be part of the cleanup and restoration efforts in the Whale Rock Road area.  We are felling trees on Larry’s property and using this viable source of wood to supply firewood to many residents here in the Fort Collins and Loveland area.  Its dry, and perfect for the fireplace and stove. In addition, we are lucky to be part of a groundbreaking new construction project at Larry’s old cabin site.  After we went in and demolished and hauled off the remainder of the foundation and burnt debris from the original cabin, we graded and prepared the area where the new construction would begin.  He has re-purposed many of the burnt logs by using them to timber frame a new cabin.  The walls of this cabin will be made of HempCrete and the benefits are amazing.  To find out more about the project and about HempCrete construction, email The Loveland Hemp Co. at hempstermelissa@yahoo.com

Timber frame
Timber frame

Larry is a musician and operates Acustic Ranch Recording Studio in Northern Colorado.  He was so moved by the events of the fire that summer that he created a song and video.  I too am a musician and  was honored to be asked to play percussion on the song as well.  Many of the musicians performing on this song were affected by the fire. Some more than others. You can see the video here and please visit the Acoustic Ranch website at www.acousticranch.com  for more information on the studio and the coming Mountain Cabin retreat where musicians will be able to stay, rehearse and prepare for recording at the studio. The Landscape Doctor will continue to be a part of the restoration of the area over the next few years. Please support us and those affected by the High Park Fire by buying firewood from us. Firewood for Sale  

  
Matt Unger has been in the Green Industry for more than 30 yrs. Bringing his years of experiences in many phases of the Green Industry, from greenhouse production, nursery and garden center management, to landscape design and construction. His education, depth of experience and 30 years in the industry make him an expert in his field. You will find him on every job site assuring quality results. As President of The Landscape Doctor, his experience culminates in fantastic solutions for the homeowner.

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