State of the Rockies Orange Skies Project

Wildfires always have played a critical role in Rocky Mountain landscapes.  Historically, low-intensity fires helped create and maintain a mosaic of diverse multi-age forest habitats. 

Over the past century, human alteration of the natural fire regime, combined with removal of water from forests, a warming climate, and years of severe drought have shifted fire behavior from low-intensity fires toward regional fires that cause greater ecological and social impacts. 

Record-breaking wildfires in 2020 scorched nearly 2.6 million acres of forests across the eight-state region affecting people and costing hundreds of millions for firefighting and mitigation.  As climate warming trends lead to more frequent and bigger fires, Colorado College students are creating Orange Skies -- an exhibition of photos taken of wildfire activity around the Rocky Mountain West, exploring visually the far-reaching effects of smoke and flames.    


Mullen Fire, US 278 & WY-130, Wyoming.
Photo by Jonathon Dragojevic

Report an issue - Last updated: 06/28/2022