All Aboard Harvest | Jada: Surrounded by fire in Colorado
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Jada: Surrounded by fire in Colorado

Jada: Surrounded by fire in Colorado

Colorado is on fire- literally. While the temperatures insisting on sticking in the triple digits are making us feel on fire, smoke from real fires is billowing above us in our fields. It looks like we have storm clouds surrounding us but in actuality it’s smoke from the fires in Manitou Springs and Fort Collins. Tonight for the first time you could actually smell the smoke. While the wind is supposedly blowing the fires away from us, Manitou Springs is only 80 miles away from Limon. Farmers are understandably nervous about the wind changing direction, resulting in the fire engulfing their unharvested acres.

more smoke clouds billowing above us

Pictured here is a field we are harvesting North of Limon. The likeness to storm clouds had us checking weather reports but the reality was smoke most likely coming from the Fort Collins fire.

Other evidences of the fires are in the lively Limon KOA which we are staying at this year. Since we have been here, the campground has been packed every night due to Manitou Springs, a popular camping area, evacuating the area and stopping campers from heading into the area. Fire bans for the entire state have also been imposed because of the fires, high temperatures and drought. It seems Fourth of July is going to be uneventful for this state.

Storm clouds these are not

Pictured here is smoke off I-70 traveling from fires by Manitou Springs. It looks like storms brewing on the horizon but is actually smoke.

However, precautions are necessary as disaster has struck in many areas. A fire was started in Last Chance, Co because a wheel bearing went out on a camper. Firefighters who responded to the fire almost had it contained when things spiraled out of control. In less than 6 hours 38,000 acres were burned up. Thankfully harvest was mostly complete and mainly stubble burned but the burned acres also included pastureland. Since there hasn’t been much of any moisture since spring that land was crucial for livestock. Flying W Ranch which has been a popular tourist attraction for 60 years and at least 36 houses have also burned in Manitou Springs. People are getting evacuated from Colorado Springs too. All farmers in this area can do is rush to get acres harvested, pray for rain and for the firefighters trying to stop the fire to succeed.

Leon in the combines

In the rush to get acres harvested, Leon keeps in header in the wheat.

The billowing smoke for surrounding fires has made farmers understandably nervous

Our combines harvesting wheat in Deer Trail. The land is severely dry here- the straw crunches when you walk on it and it looks like pure dust is coming out of the combine instead of straw. 

All Aboard Harvest is sponsored by High Plains Journal and Syngenta. Jada Bulgin can be reached at jada@allaboardharvest.com.

1Comment
  • DH
    Posted at 08:53h, 27 June

    Really enjoy reading all these blogs… I grew up on a North Dakota wheat farm and reading these bring back the good memories of how exciting wheat harvest was. Including all the challenges like equipment break downs, waiting for grain moisture to be dry enough, and especially the weather! And i also had friends that made the harvest run with some local custom harvesters.
    One question I have is, in many of the pictures I see, it seems like the combines cut quite low, leaving little stubble in the field and putting a lot more material through the cylinder. Is it typical to cut that low? do the farmers prefer that? thanks!