Colorado - Glenwood Springs - Coal Seam Fire

State: Colorado
Region: Glenwood Springs
Description: On June 8, 2002, a decades old fire that had been burning in an underground mine ignited vegetation on the surface, starting the Coal Seam Fire in and around Glenwood Springs, Colorado. There are a few coal seams in the area that have underground fires still burning today. The fire ended up burning 12,229 acres, 29 homes and outbuildings and it cost $7 million to fight.


Fire is part of the forest’s natural process and vegetation starts to grow back immediately afterwards. Being so close to roads and structures, the BLM started working on re-vegetation right away to get a quicker start and prevent mud slides and soil erosion. Even before all the fire was extinguished, a mixture of “hydro-mulch” and native grass seeds were dispersed on the hillsides using crop dusting planes. The BLM’s re-vegetation effort cost $1.5 million. Years later, the standing burnt trees are the only signs of the burn. The pinion and juniper will take decades to return.