Work was underway in late 2002 to stabilize soils and remove hazardous trees from the most heavily used areas. Rehabilitation work, including aerial seeding and mulching, was also conducted.
The study applied global climate models that indicate Rocky Mountain National Park will face milder winters and warmer summers in the future.
Wildfires burned over 7.1 million acres of public and private lands during the summer of 2002, mostly in the western U.S. While battling these fires, 21 firefighters were killed.
The White River National Forest encompasses 2.3 million acres in north-central Colorado west of the Continental Divide and straddling I-70. It includes one-sixth of national forest system lands in Colorado, but accounts for about 30 percent of recreational use.
Researchers developed a computer model of a complex forest ecosystem to simulate the release of carbon during the 2002 fire season in Colorado.
The two epidemics threaten to kill the majority of mature spruce and lodgepole pine trees in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming.
Two lightning-ignited fires roared through forests of pinon pine, Utah juniper and Gambel oak in Mesa Verde National Park, scorching 21,061 acres in the park and another 7,786 acres nearby.
Proposed management and policy changes to improve firefighter safety were accepted by USFS.
During a wildfire, mercury stored in the foliage and ground litter is released and carried into the atmosphere.
The NIFC reported that the number, severity and behavior of fires (as well as acreage burned and duration of the season) was much less severe in 2001 than in 2000, although conditions are comparable — lots of fuel and hot, dry weather.