Crews are in the final phases of mop up on the Treasure Fire located on the San Isabel National Forest in Lake County on the Leadville Ranger District located 5 miles northeast of Leadville, CO in Birdseye Gulch. The fire burned 420 acres in a variety of fuels that consisted of spruce, fir and lodgepole pine at a range of elevations from 10,006 feet to 12,002 feet threatening no structures.
This fire was a highly unique situation given that this area has not had a large fire in over 50 years due to elevation and moisture levels. This fire is a testament to the extreme fire conditions the region is experiencing. Although unique, the fire burned slow and steady and provided much needed fuel consumption in an unpopulated area.
According to Leadville District Ranger Jon Morrissey, “The Leadville community was able to witness first-hand a change in forest condition through this stand-replacement fire. In a given area of a spruce and fir forest, this opportunity only happens every 200-400 years. Now, the fire area will become a young aspen and lodgepole pine forest with new meadows too. The result will improve wildlife habitat with a mosaic pattern in the timber. We hope to see a variety of plant species that haven’t been present for 200 years as this fire mimics what Mother Nature has done for centuries.”
Incident Commander Chris Naccarato along with 123 people and a Type 2 helicopter will transition to a Type 4 team Sunday for the remainder of management of the fire. Crews in the initial attack of the fire included a 10-person AmeriCorps crew from Lake George, Colorado a contract crew from Montana, Crews from Maryland, Oregon, and Kansas.
The fire June 23rd and it is suspected to be of human cause and still under investigation. On the first day of start the fire grew 300 acres, the acreage increases after this initial growth are due to more accurate mapping and burnout operations conducted to secure the fire’s perimeter.
Morrissey added, “I want to say thank you to the local Leadville community for all of their support during this fire. My appreciation extends to the local businesses that provided food for fire fighters and also to the City of Leadville, Colorado Mt. College and other local vendors for providing and supporting base camp facilities. Also, let me extend a special thank-you to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Leadville Fire District and the Lake County Road and Bridge Department for their strong support and cooperation.”
Over the next few days crews will continue to monitor and reinforce the fire-line 50-75’in from the fire edge.