As college students, most of us would agree education is the key to solving most of the world’s problems, or at least understanding them.
And education is possible only by careful analysis of the facts and information. CSU’s WESTFIRE Program was a workshop held this past April intended to combine expert analysis from fire experts in hopes of understanding what caused last summer’s destructive fires.
Last summer’s fire season was the worst in recent history, boasting two record-setting fires and plenty of lesser-known fires that were very destructive, although largely forgotten because the extremely destructive Hayman and Missionary Ridge fires.
Last summer’s fire season was incredibly destructive for Colorado, in part because of the numerous dynamics involved. The drought played a major role in causing the prime fire conditions. Colorado had been dry for a while, but measures to conserve water and fight the drought were near nonexistent and citizens were never adequately informed about the dangers.
Perhaps if the citizenry had been warned years ago, the state could have been better prepared to deal with the season and maybe prevent some of the fires Colorado suffered from last summer. But no amount of prior warning could have prevented the Hayman fire. Dry conditions or not, this fire was started by a person.
Aside from being aware of dry conditions, people need to know how to prevent fires and alter their behavior so not to unintentionally set Colorado’s forests ablaze – i.e. not throwing burning cigarettes out of a car window. Be aware of the danger spots. Know how to completely put out a campfire.
To prevent anything, people need to understand the various dynamics involved. Staying informed is as simple as the government using the media to announce these dangers, to people responding to warnings distributed by the media.
CSU’s WESTFIRE program was a great step for the university to take in helping the state-wide community understand last year’s fires and set a foundation so that Colorado knows how to prevent a fire season of the same caliber or worse.