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Called a “perfect storm of erosion” by forest service project manager Brian Banks, the aftermath of the raging wildfire that melted the earth southwest of Denver in 2002 is still being seen in the silted waters of the upper South Platte watershed. Now Denver Water, the National Forest Foundation, the U.S. Forest Service and Vail Resorts Inc. are combining to spend over $30 million on habitat restoration in the area.
How the fire started: “A federal forestry officer, Terry Barton, who claimed she was attempting to burn a letter from her estranged husband, set the fire inside a campfire ring within an area designated for no fires due to a severe drought. The fire quickly spread out of the campfire ring and eventually torched over 138,000 acres (560 km2) and burned across four different counties.”
“Nowhere are the intricacies of soil erosion and water supply more visible than in the streams surrounding Deckers, a tiny fly-fishing mecca that sits between the two reservoirs at the confluence of Horse Creek and the Upper South Platte.” Samantha Abernethy of the Associated Press.