Indian Gulch Fire, Spring 2011

     March is not usually a wildfire season in Colorado, but dry weather in the early spring left the previous fall grasses parched and hospitable to flame.
     The Indian Gulch Fire started in Clear Creek Canyon along 6th Avenue, less than a mile west of the canyon entrance, at around 10am on Sunday, March 20, 2011.
     It burned northwest up a gully on Sunday, traveled east along and over the ridge that night, and walked a couple miles north and west in an adjacent valley on Tuesday.
     It then returned back to the canyon west of its starting point, after which the wind blew it back toward the original burn area, allowing firefighters to bring it
     fully under control. The fire occasionally crowned, but mostly stayed in the dry grasses and sparse shrubs. Nearly all of the burn
     area occurred in open space lands, and no lives or structures were lost during the fire. Total burn area: About 1600 acres.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
   Sunday Evening (1) (from Lariat Loop Road)    Sunday Evening (2) (from Lariat Loop Road)    Monday Noon (1) (from Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve)    Monday Noon (2) (from Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve)    Monday Evening (1) (from Windy Saddle Parking Area)    Monday Evening (2) (from Windy Saddle Parking Area)    Tuesday Noon (from Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve)    Tuesday Afternoon (from Lookout Mountain Nature Preserve)    Wednesday Evening (from Colorow Mountain Park)    Thursday Afternoon (from Lariat Loop Road)
  Looking north in the first phase of the fire,
  flames settle in at the top of the first gulch that
  burned out, and spread to the east along the ridge.
  Having forked earlier, two lips of grassfire now
  reconverge while spotfires linger behind.
      (March 20, 2011)
Body type:  Canon EOS 40D
Lens type:  Tokina ATX 80-200mm f/2.8
Focal Lng.:  200mm
Aperture:  f/7.1
Exposure:  1/2 sec
ISO Speed:  1600
Other h/w:  None

 

 

  East of where the two grassfires are burning,
  scattered trees flash and crown periodically as
  lingering ground flames heat them to ignition point.
  The visual effect is somewhat volcanic.
      (March 20, 2011)
Body type:  Canon EOS 40D
Lens type:  Tokina ATX 80-200mm f/2.8
Focal Lng.:  125mm
Aperture:  f/4.5
Exposure:  1.0 sec
ISO Speed:  1000
Other h/w:  None

 

 

  Viewed during the day from higher elevation,
  the fire can be observed progressing through the
  rolling hillside of an adjacent valley. A helicopter
  attempts to slow down the burn progress with water
  drops, but that 300 gallon bucket suddenly looks
  very small compared to the job at hand.
      (March 21, 2011)
Body type:  Canon EOS 40D
Lens type:  Tokina ATX 80-200mm f/2.8
Focal Lng.:  200mm (280mm converted)
Aperture:  f/11 (f/16 converted)
Exposure:  1/2000 sec
ISO Speed:  800
Other h/w:  Tamron-F 1.4x teleconv.

 

 

  Occasional trees continue to flash and crown as
  flames linger in debris accumulated around the base.
  The show lasts for a minute or so, but after stripping
  the resinous pine needles, the flames quickly fade.
      (March 21, 2011)
Body type:  Canon EOS 40D
Lens type:  Tokina ATX 80-200mm f/2.8
Focal Lng.:  200mm (280mm converted)
Aperture:  f/11 (f/16 converted)
Exposure:  1/1600 sec
ISO Speed:  800
Other h/w:  Tamron-F 1.4x teleconv.

 

 

  In the evening hours, spotfires flicker and flare
  in a burned-out hillside. The flames moved quickly
  and stayed low on this slope, leaving behind the
  silhouettes of largely unscathed trees.
      (March 21, 2011)
Body type:  Canon EOS 40D
Lens type:  Tokina ATX 80-200mm f/2.8
Focal Lng.:  200mm
Aperture:  f/5.6
Exposure:  13 sec
ISO Speed:  1600
Other h/w:  None

 

 

  Turning slightly east of the previous shot, three
  stages of wildfire become visible in long exposure.
  Previous burn area shows black on the center crest;
  to the left, spotfires linger from an earlier burn;
  and to the right, skyglow rises from an active burn.
      (March 21, 2011)
Body type:  Canon EOS 40D
Lens type:  Tokina ATX 80-200mm f/2.8
Focal Lng.:  80mm
Aperture:  f/7.1
Exposure:  30 sec
ISO Speed:  1600
Other h/w:  None

 

 

  Fresh resources and favorable weather allowed
  an attempt at a firebreak to be prepared by Tuesday
  noon. Spotfires linger against a red slurry line on
  the crest of yet another lightly-burned rise.
      (March 22, 2011)
Body type:  Canon EOS 40D
Lens type:  Tokina ATX 80-200mm f/2.8
Focal Lng.:  200mm (280mm converted)
Aperture:  f/9.0 (f/13 converted)
Exposure:  1/400 sec
ISO Speed:  800
Other h/w:  CPL + Tamron-F 1.4x telec.

 

 

  By late afternoon the wind picks up severely, with
  ground-speed gusts peaking around 70mph. A spotfire
  unexpectedly jumps the slurry firebreak by moving
  southwest into the wind, illustrating that uneven
  terrain and treecover can cause wilfire behavior
  to become extremely unpredictable.
      (March 22, 2011)
Body type:  Canon EOS 40D
Lens type:  Tokina ATX 80-200mm f/2.8
Focal Lng.:  190mm (266mm converted)
Aperture:  f/5.6 (f/8.0 converted)
Exposure:  1/400 sec
ISO Speed:  800
Other h/w:  CPL + Tamron-F 1.4x telec.

 

 

  The fire continued to hopscotch between craigs
  and swells along the edge of the canyon and the
  valley to the north. By Wednesday evening it had
  painted itself into a corner, and only limited areas
  of fuel remained available. Here, grassfires
  persist in an inaccessible hollow.
      (March 23, 2011)
Body type:  Canon EOS 40D
Lens type:  Tokina ATX 80-200mm f/2.8
Focal Lng.:  80mm
Aperture:  f/6.3
Exposure:  30 sec
ISO Speed:  1600
Other h/w:  None

 

 

  By Thursday afternoon, the fire was fully under
  under control, and only a few hotspots remained.
  The point where the fire crested the ridge from the
  ignition point in Clear Creek Canyon is visible to the
  far right, and a burn line can be seen on the ridge.
      (March 24, 2011)
Body type:  Canon EOS 40D
Lens type:  Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 DiII
Focal Lng.:  32mm
Aperture:  f/9.0
Exposure:  1/800 sec
ISO Speed:  1600
Other h/w:  Circular Polarizer

 

 

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