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Out of the Ashes of Hayman, A Unique Partnership Develops

Rick Jacob Land
Wikimedia Commons

Colorado largest wildfire touched off ten years ago Friday. When it was finally contained – the Hayman fire southwest of Denver had scarred 138,000 acres. A unique restoration partnership between the US Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation continues to restore critical watersheds struggling to recover a decade later.

Today, local government officials, the US Forest Service, and citizens gathered in the Pike National Forest to commemorate the anniversary of the blaze, and the completion of a 3 year restoration project spearheaded by the US Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation. Mary Mitsos is the group’s vice president…

“I think when people are offered the opportunity to help repair their backyard, restore their backyard; they’re going to jump at it.”

More than 17,000 volunteers worked 105,000 hours on the Hayman Restoration Project planting 1 million trees and re-seeding thousands of acres of damaged land around a critical watershed for Denver.

Mitsos says the partnership is a departure for the Forest Service which has traditionally conducted wildfire restoration on their own. She adds that it could/will serve as a model for future wildfire restoration efforts around the country.

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