Eamon and Meghan went up to the Routt Forest to check on the cattle and the Big Red Fire. Through absolute luck, they found this heifer, who had gotten stuck in a soaphole in Little Red Park. They weren’t able to pull her out with their horses, but were able to get close enough with the pickup to finally rescue her.
(STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo.) August 29, 2017 – A helicopter flight over the Big Red Fire today gave fire personnel a more accurate view of the incident size and as a result the fire is now being reported at 529 acres.
The fire has grown over the last few days due to timely winds, group and single-tree torching, and then subsequent short to mid-range spotting of the fire into unburned areas on the Routt National Forest.
Despite the large increase in reported acreage, management of the wildfire remained the same as it has been, with emphasis on firefighter and public safety, utilizing trigger points to engage the fire where there is a high probability of success, and monitoring fire behavior. This management approach is consistent with other recent area fires in similar fuel types.
The main focus of 70 personnel working the fire has been to utilize Forest Roads 500, 500.1B, and 500.1A to establish fire line along the southern boundary of the fire.
Private land near Big Red Park and an active Forest Service timber sale (Blue Duck Salvage) could be at risk if the fire moves south.
An area closure remains in place, temporarily closing part of the 500 Road and its’ subsequent spur roads, as well as Forest Trail 1204.1A.
The Big Red Fire was discovered on Saturday, Aug. 19 in north Routt County, Colo. It is burning in mixed conifer, which includes spruce, fir, pine, and both live and bug-killed timber.
The wildfire is located just north of Big Red Park, along Forest Road 500, and approximately five miles south of the Colorado/Wyoming state line.
It has been determined that the fire was caused by lightning, with initial response by Forest Service and County staff.
Although unplanned, wildfires such as the Big Red Fire have the potential to reduce hazardous fuels and improve forest health.
InciWeb will be used as the primary means of information distribution for the Big Red Fire. An incident page will be updated at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5551/. The Forest Twitter account, @FS_MBRTB, will also be used for fire updates.
Our crew headed into the trees to look for cows and calves
The National Forests near us are filled with dead Lodgepole pines, killed by pine beetles over the past decade or so. The trees are long past the “red and dead” stage and are now at the gray and falling over stage. Much of the Medicine Bow and Routt Forests are a tinderbox. We want to see a number of smaller burns instead of a great conflagration.
A few days ago, our range conservationist on the Routt contacted us to let us know of a small fire on an adjacent grazing allotment. We went up and moved our cows away from the fire area. We are praying for moderate weather and no rain. My Dad was a great believer in fire as a range management tool. He may have sent that lightening bolt!
This fire could do our Forest a lot of good and literally “clear out the deadwood”.
All is green and warm. It’s hard to believe that we are not far away, in time, in temperature, from fall. Soon we will see frosty mornings, golden leaves, and critters headed for lower climes. For now, we hang onto these long sunny days. Each sunrise the sun sneaks south, while we breathe warm breezes, a little longer.
Tim Terrill and his daughter Tate came today to shoe some horses to get ready for fall riding. He took time to show Seamus and our guests the finer points of preparing the shoes and shaping the hooves. We are located on the Continental Divide Bike Trail, and we had guests from England who were glad to see Tim at work. He happened to be shoeing a wild horse which we had adopted, so I explained the adoption program.
Patrick and Sharon O'Toole are ranchers in the Little Snake River Valley on the Wyoming-Colorado border. They represent the fourth generation on the six-generation family ranch. The O'Tooles raise cattle, sheep, horses, dogs and children on their high country ranching operation. The transhumance operation stretches from north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado to Wyoming's Red Desert.
Pat has served in the Wyoming House of Representatives, the Western Water Policy Commission, and is currently President of the Family Farm Alliance, representing irrigators and water users in the western United States. He is active with several conservation and agricultural organizations.
Sharon is a writer and poet. She writes extensively on western issues, and the relationship between landscape, animals and people. She is widely published as an author, essayist and editorial commentator.
Pat and Sharon have three children. Their daughter, Meghan and her husband Brian Lally, live on the ranch with their children, Siobhán, Seamus, Maeve and Tiarnán. Meghan has also served on the Wyoming Board of Agriculture and the Environmental Quality Council, She and Brian are active in community service.
Daughter Bridget lives in Phoenix with her husband, Chris Abel, where she works in health care communications. Chris works in the food distribution business.
Son Eamon and his wife Megan live on the ranch with their sons, McCoy and Rhen. Eamon is a horseman and natural resource manager, and Megan is a flight nurse. Eamon is a member of the Wyoming Beef Council and is active in the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
The blog traces the activities and life on the ranch, from the mundane to the fabulous.