Playing with Fire: Angler Survives Colorado Blaze

Fortunately the U.S. west is having one of its wettest years in recent memory. But wildfires can happen anywhere at any time in the Rocky Mountains, regardless of rain and snowpack levels. If you plan on fishing in arid country this summer, take a lesson from the experiences of Larry Garfinkel, who barely survived an April 15 fire while fly fishing with buddies on Colorado’s Roaring Fork River. “He was resigned to his fate. But somehow — Garfinkel said he honestly doesn’t know if it was acting on instinct or courage under fire — he made his way into the shallow water of the creek, then into water deep enough to submerge him. He said he looked up through about 4 inches of water and saw the flames flying past. ‘The fire just keeps coming,’ he said. ‘I came up for air once and then went back down.'” Scott Condon in the Aspen Times.

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  • WOW!!! He’s lucky. Be more careful next time or you wouldn´t tell the story.

  • Taku

    Bottom line in situations like that: unless you are positive you can get out to a vehicle with a unblocked escape route, water is the best place to be in a wildland fire. Even in heavy timber, having to keep most of your body in the water for more than 5′ – 10′ would be unusual. Might get a bit chilly, but better than the alternative.