Containment is up to 83% at the Spring Fire in southern Colorado. It is allowing more evacuees to return to their homes. While away some of their homes and property were part of the firefight strategy. "A lot of the ranch owners and property owners are very willing to offer up nice meadows and property…for fire operations," said Seneca Smith with the Incident Management Team.
Fire bosses creating strategies to stop the fire look for help from things already in place. Mitigation, water sources, also roads and driveways for fire breaks, can all help.
In mountain country, finding open areas amid dense forest is important for safety. The Yellow Pine Guest Ranch in Cuchara, Colorado provided space during the Spring Fire for a safety zone. The area is an lifesaving option for firefighters if routes away from the fire get blocked. "A last ditch effort, safe harbor."
Visitors see a serene bucolic setting in the mountains, but the fields where animals graze are viewed as something very different for firefighters. If threatened by flames they’d find safety in the center of the field. "It has to be a minimum of four times the flame lengths,” said Smith, “So on this hillside you had 60 foot flame lengths coming off trees, you’d have to quadruple that to make sure everybody in the middle has four times that between them and the flame lengths."
When property owners return they may see tracks from vehicles coming and going. It is evidence their property contributed to the firefight.