Losing the war on wildfire

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Losing the war on wildfire

National attitude toward fire creates indefensible space

Losing the war on wildfire

Jordan Barnett of Durango Fire & Rescue Authority fought the State Line Fire west of U.S. Highway 550 last year. Across the country, firefighters say they are seeing more extreme fire behavior.
Firefighters march toward the Lightner Creek Fire in 2012, one of more than 60,000 blazes the government tackles each year.
STEVE LEWIS/Durango Herald - 08/16/13 - A house saved from the destruction of the Papoose Fire southwest of Creede.
A blackened forest points to the power of the Papoose Fire, one of three blazes that made up the 170-square-mile West Fork Complex in June. The fire fit into a national trend toward larger and larger wildfires.
Firefighters march toward the Lightner Creek Fire in 2012, one of more than 60,000 blazes the government tackles each year.
The Papoose Fire, 15 miles southwest of Creede, scorched the forest but not homes near the river, visible at the top of the photo.
Firefighters saved this mansion southwest of Creede from the Papoose Fire in June, halting the flames on the slope above the home. Fire managers say they spent two-thirds of their effort in protecting homes, while letting the backcountry burn. The blaze cost $33 million to fight.
Flames tower over a barn near Mancos during the 2012 Weber Fire. Thousands of people in Southwest Colorado, and more than a million statewide, live in wildfire-prone landscapes.
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