We hate to be writing about wildfires AGAIN, and especially because it’s so close to home.
First, we’d like to extend our deepest gratitude to all the men and women involved in fighting this fire. Not only did we have a massive team of responders from all over the country, we also had hundreds of people from our own community working day and night on logistics and communication. It is so encouraging to see Summit County residents come together to help each other in so many ways!
Many people were displaced from the Wildernest and Mesa Cortina neighborhoods, and we are extremely thankful for our local responders and volunteers who helped coordinate the evacuation and setting up of shelters. The evacuation order was lifted at 3pm on Thursday.
Haley Littleton, communications coordinator for the Town of Breckenridge and Wildernest resident, commented, “The Buffalo Fire reached 91 acres and was 250 feet from structures. The fire was called in on Tuesday, June 12, at 10:46 am. Several agencies responded quickly and focused on keeping the fire away from any structures. The Buffalo Mountain/Mesa Cortina area was a site that agencies in Summit County had spent time practicing a response to a wildfire, which resulted in a quick and focused response. Air support was immediately directed to the fire with several hotshot crews, helicopters, and Air Tankers. Firefighters from across the state and country came to help attack the fire.
Officials credit no lost structures to previous wildfire mitigation work that has been done in the area. Fire breaks were made around the upper part of Wildernest neighborhood, creating a buffer that successfully protected the homes in the area. HOAs in the area and homeowners had also done a successful job in creating defensible space around their homes and properties. This space played a key role in allowing firefighters to keep the fire away from any structures. It’s a good case study in understanding how smart forest planning and wildfire mitigation can save homes.”
Aside from protecting our property, one of the best things we can do as outdoor enthusiasts is to educate ourselves and others about prevention. Always be aware of fire danger and bans when you’re traveling. Stay up to date on restrictions in your own area, and always err on the side of caution.
Here is a helpful graphic provided by Friends of the Dillon Ranger District showing how you can help prevent wildfires. FDRD also has a Volunteer Ranger Patrol program. This is a crew of trained volunteers who are out on the trails educating people and communicating fire bans and the importance of fire safety.
As a result of the fire, the White River National Forest is under Stage 1 fire restrictions. There are also several trail closures:
Lily Pad Lake
Gore Trail @ Red Buffalo Pass