The Pine Gulch Fire began a few miles southwest of the Ranch Headquarters on July 31, 2020; within 3 days, the fire had reached Ranch. The fire went on to consume over 140,000 acres and become the largest fire in recorded Colorado history.
The drought conditions that led to the Pine Gulch Fire Event were not isolated to our corner of Colorado. The end of the 2020 fire season would see the Pine Gulch Fire passed twice over as the largest fire in Colorado history and dwarfed by larger fires throughout the Western States.
Our deepest appreciation goes out to these brave men and women from around the country that fought and risked their lives to protect these lands and way of life. The opportunity to work with and get to know these individuals from incident commanders, hot-shot crews, structural protection staff, and support personnel through the Pine Gulch Fire Event was a life changing experience that provided comfort during the fire and perspective and direction in the aftermath.
The High Lonesome Ranch understands that wildfire is a natural, and in many cases, needed part of the ecological process. These events were historically smaller and more frequent in scope, resulting in the ability of ecosystems, wildlife, and ranching operations to adapt and improve as a result. Fire suppression over the last 100 years has resulted in an overstock of fuels and a greater susceptibility to larger fires and intense impacts.
The Ranch is adapting to the changed landscape and we are excited to see how our practices will bring the land back to life. We have already seen how fire adapted plants are thriving, and are watching as the bears, elk, deer, beavers, birds and more move back in. The cattle have become and even more important tool to help guide this process of ecological regeneration.