High Park fire still costing taxpayers millions of dollars

Coloradoan — The High Park Fire went out more than a year ago, but millions of taxpayer dollars still are being used to deal with its aftermath.


The cost of addressing the widespread damage done to the foothills and watersheds west of Fort Collins is expected to go on for years to come.


“This problem is big, it’s complex, it’s expensive, and it’s a long-term problem,” City Manager Darin Atteberry told Fort Collins City Council members last week. “It’s not a quick fix.”


The fire, which burned about 87,000 acres and destroyed 259 homes, left some hillsides bare of vegetation and incapable of absorbing precipitation. Rainfall from thunderstorms this summer repeatedly caused flooding and mudslides that closed Rist Canyon Road, Stove Prairie Road and Colorado Highway 14 through Poudre Canyon.


Recovery work in hard-hit areas will be evident this fall as helicopters drop tons of wood mulch on fire-scarred hillsides in hopes of stabilizing them and reducing erosion.


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