Missionary Ridge Fire 10th anniversary to be commemorated

Firewise to host talks, demonstrations, exhibits

Firewise of Southwest Colorado is hosting an observation of the 10th anniversary of the Missionary Ridge Fire on Sunday at the La Plata County Fairgrounds that will feature speakers and exhibits.

The observation will take place from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Extension Building.

Saturday is the actual anniversary of the fire that burned for 39 days and consumed 72,962 acres of public and private land.

“This is an opportunity to learn the history of the fire, how we’ve improved response systems since and what homeowners can do to protect their homes,” said Pam Wilson, director of Firewise of Southwest Colorado.

Firewise is a national organization that promotes fire safety.

Wilson said four talks are scheduled:

Rod Allen from Durango Fire & Rescue Authority will present a slide show of 2002 fire photos.

Butch Knowlton, director of emergency preparedness for La Plata County, will describe how the county cleaned up and repaired infrastructure after the fire.

Craig Goodell, fire mitigation officer with the U.S. Forest Service, will discuss changes in how fire agencies manage fires since 2002.

Insurance agent Jim Duresky will talk about the increasing difficulty of buying fire insurance in high-risk neighborhoods because of extreme wildfire danger.

A number of exhibitions are scheduled:

The Animas Museum will display a number of historic fire photos.

The Colorado State Forest Service will show how to create a fuel-free area called defensible space around a house.

Native Roots Garden Center will have examples of fire-resistant landscaping.

The Red Cross, insurance companies and tree-thinning companies will have exhibit.

Firefighters will cook hot dogs and hamburgers, available for $5, as a fundraiser for Firewise of Southwest Colorado. Children younger than 16 can eat free.

daler@durangoherald.com