Community and Veterans Unite for Titan Fire Recovery

by | Apr 8, 2024 | Trinidad Coloado

In an unprecedented collaborative endeavor, a multitude of organizations are coming together to dedicate resources, expertise, and manpower towards the restoration efforts of the Titan Fire Burn Scar. This comprehensive initiative, set to take place from April 11 to April 15, aims to mitigate the adverse environmental repercussions on the local ecosystem, including water sources and wildlife habitats, through fire prevention measures and more.

The coalition of participants includes Team Rubicon, a notable veteran-led global humanitarian group, which has been preparing for months to implement a recovery operation at the site of the fire. With all necessary logistics in place, the team is ready to deploy to the affected area.

Support for this operation extends across a broad spectrum of entities, including Las Animas County, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Evergreen Natural Resources, Purgatoire Watershed Partnership, Spanish Peaks-Purgatoire River Conservation, the Trinidad Community Center, and even individual landowners.

Julie Knudson, Executive Director and Watershed Coordinator for Purgatoire Watershed Partnership, expressed enthusiasm over the collaborative venture, highlighting the veteran involvement in the watershed’s post-restoration efforts.

The Titan Fire, which ravaged 930 acres of land in Las Animas County, 11 miles northwest of Trinidad from June 28 to July 2, 2023, posed significant environmental threats post-incident. Team Rubicon’s mission planner, Susan Lowe, emphasized the operation’s focus on watershed protection, fire mitigation, and addressing long-term water needs. The project includes constructing log erosion barriers to prevent sediment from the burn scar from obstructing waterways and causing flooding, with local landowners granting permission for the removal of deadstand trees to reduce future fire hazards.

Joe Richards, Las Animas County Emergency Manager, reflected on the challenges of recovery and commended Team Rubicon for their invaluable contribution towards community and watershed protection. The effort involves extensive community support, including from county officials and local agencies.

Levi D. Montoya, an environmental technician with Evergreen Natural Resources, stressed the importance of addressing natural resource concerns and minimizing environmental impacts, particularly erosion from the Titan Fire Burn Scar. The project aims to protect the downstream Wolf Creek, Reilly Canyon, and Purgatoire River Watersheds.

Sammie Molinaro, District Conservationist and Resource Team Lead for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, detailed the collaborative efforts to implement erosion control structures and acknowledged the vital support from Evergreen and the pivotal role of partnerships in the community’s recovery.

The initiative demonstrates a powerful example of community resilience and the effectiveness of collaboration in disaster recovery, leveraging both local and external resources for environmental restoration and protection.

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