The Black Forest Fire began in the early afternoon of Tuesday, June 11, 2013. By full containment on Thursday, June 20, 2013 it had burned 14,280 acres (22.31 square miles), killed two people, destroyed over 500 homes and changed many lives forever. The total evacuation area encompassed 94,000 acres and affected 38,000 people in 13,000 homes. Approximately $9,324,000 was spent and more than 457 firefighters came to fight the fire. It was the worst fire in Colorado state history.
At nearly 1,500 acres, Kiowa Creek Sanctuary is 10% of the Black Forest Fire burn area. How many acres of trees are gone? Time will tell. While many of the Ponderosas are dead, some merely have scorched needles and stand a good chance of surviving.
The property has definitely changed, but the plants and animals who live there are well adapted to fire. The meadows are already green. Birds and other animals are returning. For now, we will not be having field trips at the sanctuary. While we anticipate future sanctuary visits, remember the majestic views of Pikes Peak, the ponds, the elk herd, and the nearly 150 bird species we’ve already seen there.