FORT COLLINS — As wildfires start to weaken around the state, the Colorado State Forest Service has offered up way you can help the areas affected by the new burn scars: replanting trees.
The CSFS-administered Restoring Colorado Forests Fund uses donations to purchase seedlings and plant them in areas affected by wildfires, floods or other disasters. Every $2 donation purchases one seedling. The seedlings are grown at the CSFS Nursery in Fort Collins.
The fund, which was established in 2003, has been used to provide more than 122,000 trees.
“When a destructive wildfire hits, the first priority is protecting human life and property,” said Mike Lester, state forester and CSFS director. “But for the long-term recovery of our communities and forests, planting trees provides an important means to help stabilize soils, protect water supplies and restore the landscape.”
In the past decade, this fund has been used to replant areas in the burn scars of the High Park Fire west of Fort Collins, the Waldo Canyon Fire near Colorado Springs and the Weber Fire near Durango.
The loss of trees and other vegetation in those areas led to runoff and erosion, which resulted in damaged hillsides, polluted waterways, highway closures and road damage.
This year, the Girl Scouts of Colorado made a donation that helped the Restoring Colorado’s Forests Fund provide 7,500 seedling trees for reforestation efforts.
“We will forever be grateful for the seedlings we received because of the generosity of people giving to the Restoring Colorado's Forests Fund,” said James Williams, a Larimer County landowner.
Williams lost 35 acres of forest in the 2012 High Park Fire, and was able to begin restoration the following year with trees provided by the fund.