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Lake Christine

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Journalism



The charred landscapes that wildfires leave behind are susceptible to erosion, flooding and debris flows, like the mudslides that blocked roads in Basalt the summer following the Lake Christine Fire. 


Liz Schnackenberg, a hydrologist with the US Forest Service who analyzed the Lake Christine burn area, is in the Roaring Fork River valley this week for the Naturalist Nights speaker series, discussing how wildfires change watershed conditions.


Eric Lovgren / Eagle County Wildfire Mitigation

new report on last year’s Lake Christine fire found that, while firefighters saved homes in the El Jebel mobile home park and Missouri Heights areas, mitigation played a significant role as well; however, making properties more resistant to wildfire requires investments from local communities and homeowners.



Eric Lovgren, Eagle County Wildfire Mitigation Coordinator

A new study on the Lake Christine fire finds that wildfire mitigation, like using flame-resistant construction materials and clearing vegetation around homes, played a significant role in saving property. 


The study, by the Community Wildfire Planning Center, was presented to the Eagle County board of commissioners by wildfire mitigation coordinator Eric Lovgren on Tuesday.


Elizabeth Stewart-Severy/Aspen Journalism


The Lake Christine wildfire last summer not only destroyed three homes and torched thousands of acres of forest, it also came dangerously close to taking down poles holding the full loop of power lines in Basalt.  After this close call, Holy Cross Energy partnered with Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) to find ways to keep the lights on if there’s another disaster. 

Mike McMillan / Lake Christine Fire PIO

Emergency responders and public works crews are continuing to work Monday morning on flooding response and clean-up following heavy rains and mudslides that occurred Sunday across the Lake Christine burn scar.

Around 30 homes were impacted, but no injuries have been reported.

Mike McMillan / Lake Christine Fire PIO

Basalt is hosting a community picnic to thank emergency responders one year after the Lake Christine Fire started. 

Janice Duroux is vice president of the Basalt Regional Heritage Society, which is hosting the potluck. 

Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

One year ago, on June 3, 2018, the Lake Christine fire started at the Basalt shooting range. It eventually burned over 12,000 acres, forced thousands of residents to evacuate and destroyed three homes.  Fire officials say, now, it’s time for homeowners to take action before another fire.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio


Officials in Basalt say recent efforts to improve safety at the shooting range near Lake Christine are helpful, but don’t go far enough.

Basalt town manager Ryan Mahoney drafted a letter on behalf of the town council that applauds Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) for removing brush to help prevent wildfires and arranging for safety officers.


But the council has a list of requests it says would make it easier for the town and gun range to coexist.


El Jebel Hosts Flood-Readiness Meeting

Jun 7, 2019
Colorado River Water Conservation District

Last month's above-average rain and snowfall drastically increased flood risk, especially in the burn zone of the Lake Christine Fire.  

Officials are very concerned about the risk of large flows.

Wildfires charr soil and vegetation, so the ground can’t absorb water.

Fast-running water in burn areas can churn up soil and debris, leading to mudslides. Eagle County officials are hosting a meeting to inform residents of the risks of flood and mudslides.

Alycin Bektesh / Aspen Public Radio

Eagle County has decided that fire restrictions will be automatically triggered anytime there’s a Red Flag Warning in the area.


The National Weather Service issues Red Flag warnings when low humidity and strong winds form ideal conditions for wildfires.


Colorado River Water Conservation District

In the wake of a wildfire, flooding is a major concern. Exposed soil is easily carried away by water, leading to floods and mudslides.

Add heavy runoff from this year’s snow and valley officials are ready in case of a deluge.


Aspen Public Radio

Ten months ago, the Lake Christine Fire burned over 12,000 acres north of Basalt.

While new grass is visible this spring in the burn area, a full recovery could take a decade.

Valley Round Up: Dec. 21, 2018

Dec 21, 2018

This week: we look back at the stories that defined 2018 in the Roaring Fork Valley.

Mike McMillan / Lake Christine Fire PIO

The federal government is contributing $950,000 towards flood-mitigation projects relating to the 13,000-acre Lake Christine Fire burn area.

Public Comment Open On Lake Christine Burn Area Plans

Nov 30, 2018
courtesy photo

The Basalt Mountain Salvage and Rehabilitation project is open for public comment through the end of the month.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Hunters crowd into the Basalt shooting range on a recent autumn day for last-minute practice ahead of elk and deer season. This fall, things look a little different at the range, and not just because of the fire scar that rises behind the targets where hunters take aim.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) announced that the Basalt shooting range will reopen Saturday. It’s been closed for more than two months after the Lake Christine Fire ignited there, and there will be some changes at the range.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) hosted a community meeting Monday to discuss the Basalt shooting range, which has been closed since the Lake Christine Fire ignited there on July 3. Some community members in Basalt have called for the range to be relocated or closed permanently, but others would like to see the range reopened as soon as possible.

U.S. Forest Service

On Monday, the U.S. Forest Service released its final analysis of the soil area that burned in the Lake Christine Fire. The impacts are most significant on the northern part of the burn area.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

On Monday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is hosting the second of two community meetings to discuss the future of the Basalt gun range.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

As fires burn in Colorado and across the west, Roaring Fork communities have frequently been under health advisories for air quality because of smoke.

CPW To Meet With Basalt Residents About Gun Range

Aug 20, 2018
Mike McMillan / Lake Christine Fire PIO

On Tuesday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) will hear from the community about their concerns regarding the shooting range where the Lake Christine fire began.

Elizabeth Stewart-Severy / Aspen Public Radio

It’s been a few weeks since the Lake Christine Fire tore along the hillsides above Basalt and El Jebel. The flames are gone, but the evidence of the fire is clear on the blackened landscape. It’s a haunting change from the usual green or gold slopes; newspaper columnists have called this a "hellscape."

Valley Round Up: July 27, 2018

Jul 27, 2018

  This week: The triple threat of fire, droughts flooding throughout the valley.

Lake Christine Fire Updates

Jul 27, 2018

Update: July 29, 10:22 a.m.: All pre-evacuation notices have been lifted, due to an increase in containment--now at 72%--along with Saturday's rain. Residents are encouraged to register with both Eagle and Pitkin Counties' emergency alerts for flash-flood warnings.   

At a community meeting Wednesday night, officials from Eagle County and the Rocky Mountain Team Black incident management team said they were adding more air support to battle the Lake Christine Fire.  

Air Quality Specialists Join Firefight

Jul 25, 2018

Two air quality specialists have joined the team fighting the Lake Christine Fire. They are essentially smoke forecasters, here to keep people as safe and smoke-free as possible.  

The Lake Christine Fire has grown over the past several days, all on National Forest land. It now covers nearly 11,500 acres and is 32 percent contained.

Stories of the Lake Christine Fire

Jul 21, 2018

 The Aspen Public Radio news team is collecting the stories of those whose lives changed due to the fire- how they helped, what they lost, what they gained and what they learned. Listen to those stories here.

You can still share your story with us in many ways.

Christin Kay / Aspen Public Radio

Rocky Mountain Team Black, the type 2 incident management team now managing the Lake Christine Fire operations, held a community meeting on Friday at Basalt High School, their incident command post.  

Operations section chief Rob Berger described the work done to protect structures in Cattle Creek. He said crews are cutting fire hand lines by Seven Castles and the Frying Pan river to direct the fire away from homes, should it move in that direction. That work will continue on Saturday.