While the public might think of the 2016 Hayden Pass fire as something that happened in the past, those impacted by the fire and the subsequent damaging flooding are still recovering. A coalition meeting scheduled for 1 p.m. Feb. 9 at the Coaldale Community Building, 287 Hayden Creek Road in Coaldale, will bring together landowners and residents of the impacted drainages.

The meeting will connect landowners and community members from throughout the Hayden Pass burn scar with coordinating project partners and local agencies, businesses and organizations to discuss progress to date, identify and prioritize, especially urgent needs, develop potential funding partners, and set the stage for next steps.

“We know that our neighbors will continue to be impacted by post-fire flooding conditions for several years to come. With this knowledge and the need for a coordinated effort to identify needs for the entire affected area, we ask you to join us,” said Hayden Pass Fire and Flood Recovery Coordinator Kate Spinelli.

In announcing the meeting, Spinelli points out that recovering from the disasters is still in the beginning phases. “The session is one step in the larger scale work of building a Hayden Pass Fire Watershed Recovery Coalition to organize landowners, public lands agencies and other organizations who have an interest in the recovery of each drainage impacted by the fire and the floods that have followed.”

As the recovery unfolds, explains Spinelli, “We know the entire drainage is one system, and that work done higher in the drainage will have positive impacts downstream. However, we understand there is much to be done, both now and in the long-term for recovery to be more effective.”

She said that local and state organizations and agencies have begun a renewed effort on behalf of the affected area to move recovery efforts ahead, including work by Natural Resource Conservation Services, Fremont County and Otak Engineering. The Colorado Water Conservation Board has funded a partnership between the Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District, Arkansas River Watershed Collaborative and River Science to coordinate efforts, including an expanded assessment into other drainages impacted by the fire, while identifying ways to meet needs that are not otherwise being met.

For more info contact Kate Spinelli, Fire and Flood Recovery Coordinator – kate.m.spinelli@gmail.com.