A Colorado ranch lost 9,000 acres to a wildfire in April. So how does it look in August? | SummitDaily.com

A Colorado ranch lost 9,000 acres to a wildfire in April. So how does it look in August?

Michael Booth
Colorado Sun
Dallas May, a Lamar rancher, on his ranch.
Mike Sweeney/For the Colorado Sun

LAMAR — Gazing north across the rangeland from the spot where a spring wildfire destroyed 9,000 acres of May Ranch pasture in a few hours, you can see scorched cottonwoods puncturing the horizon like black thumb tacks. 

In April, after a year so dry the sage roots turned to powder, the wildfire flew on hurricane winds and threatened ranch families, ranch hands, 800 cattle, and the livelihood and natural history of a certified wildlife sanctuary. 

Not to mention that it melted 60 miles of fence whose replacement cost alone is pegged at $1.5 million.

The fire department says it doesn’t know why the fire stopped after torching most of the 15,000-acre ranch. Dallas May figures it was wind-blown curtains of sand — drought-baked pasture soil — that dropped back onto the fire in the opposite of a self-immolation. A self-smothering. 

So to stand where the fire started, on a 96-degree August day, and recall all that Dallas May said about how bad things were before and during the fire, is to expect a rush of despair. 

Read more at ColoradoSun.com.

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