Reburn: A Field Trip with Fort Collins Natural Areas

In January 2021, local managers, researchers, and stakeholders visited the City of Fort Collins Bobcat Gulch Natural Area, where the 2000 Bobcat Gulch Fire was reburned by the 2020 Cameron Peak Fire for collaborative learning.

The Bobcat Gulch Natural Area—a highly utilized natural area for residents of Fort Collins, Loveland and other surrounding communities on the Front Range of Colorado—has experienced two fires in the last 20 years. In 2000, the Bobcat Gulch Fire left large high severity burn patches in the ponderosa pine stands, and resulted in large areas of complete forest mortality. Recently, the 2020 Cameron Peak Fire reburned forested and unforested areas of the Natural Area. Our field trip discussions focused on issues related to soil erosion, post-fire tree mortality, protecting surviving trees in preparation for potential future fires, reforestation following the 2020 Cameron Peak reburn, and the reduction of cheatgrass and other invasive understory species. The group had several lingering knowledge gaps at the end of the discussion, including questions relating to tree and shrub regeneration in drainages in the Natural Area, and the differences in Cameron Peak Fire effects between areas where trees killed in the 2000 Bobcat Gulch Fire were piled and/or removed versus areas where they were not.

Read the whole summary here!